The assessment of human health risks from rodent-borne diseases by means of ecological studies of rodent reservoirs.
ABSTRACT Zoonoses in general, and more specifically rodent-borne diseases, have proven to be of increasing importance in recent decades. The study of vector biology, therefore, is the foundation for understanding the infection mechanisms for humans. Military operations on the European and Asian continent have been substantially affected by Hantavirus infections during World War I and World War II, the Korean War, and the more recent events in Bosnia. The recently discovered Hantavirus serotypes with high mortality may extend the risk for the future to North America. In this article, we focus on the host and ecosystem relationships that might be useful in predicting potential outbreaks in Western Europe.
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ABSTRACT: The continued emergence and re-emergence of pathogens represent an ongoing, sometimes major, threat to populations. Hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae) and their associated human diseases were considered to be confined to Eurasia, but the occurrence of an outbreak in 1993-94 in the southwestern United States led to a great increase in their study among virologists worldwide. Well over 40 hantaviral genotypes have been described, the large majority since 1993, and nearly half of them pathogenic for humans. Hantaviruses cause persistent infections in their reservoir hosts, and in the Americas, human disease is manifest as a cardiopulmonary compromise, hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), with case-fatality ratios, for the most common viral serotypes, between 30% and 40%. Habitat disturbance and larger-scale ecological disturbances, perhaps including climate change, are among the factors that may have increased the human caseload of HCPS between 1993 and the present. We consider here the features that influence the structure of host population dynamics that may lead to viral outbreaks, as well as the macromolecular determinants of hantaviruses that have been regarded as having potential contribution to pathogenicity.Viruses 12/2010; 2(12):2559-86. · 1.50 Impact Factor