UK hantavirus, renal failure, and pet rats

Rare and Imported Pathogens Department, Porton Down, UK. Electronic address: .
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 45.22). 03/2013; 381(9871):1070. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60599-1


In November, 2012, a 28-year-old man, presented with a 4-day history of fever, shivers, sweating, and vomiting. He had type-2 diabetes, which was being treated with sitagliptin and metformin. On admission he had evi dence of a systemic infl ammatory response (temperature 39·3°C, pulse 160 bpm, respiratory rate 30 per min, white cell count 15·0×10⁹ per L, with 12·3 neutrophils and 0·2 mye locytes), abnormalities of blood clotting (INR 1·6, PTT 57 s, fi brinogen 0·99 g/L (normal range 1·5–4·5); plate lets 19×10⁹ per L), multi-organ failure (creatinine 167 μmol/L, raised alanine aminotransferase 511 U/L and bilirubin 87 μmol/L), progressive hypoxia, hyperglycaemia glucose 20·6 mmol/L), and lactic acidosis (PH 7·29, lactate 7·5 mmol/L). He was diagnosed with overwhelming sepsis and transferred to the intensive care unit. Initial treatment was with piperacillin-tazobactam, insulin, oxygen, and aggressive fl uid replacement, including platelet infusions, fresh frozen plasma, and cryo-precipitate. Ventilatory support was required 15 h after admission, at which time he was anuric. Renal replace-ment therapy was needed for 21 days and ventilatory support for 38 days, partly because of pseudomonas superinfection of the chest that was diagnosed on day 17. Tests for legionella and leptospira and initial blood cultures were negative. Serum taken 30 days after admission had a high IgG titre to Seoul hantavirus (1:10 000 by IFA, Euroimmun, Medizinische Labor-diagnostika AG), although serum from 1 month before admission (sent for hepatitis screening because of a mild transaminasaemia) was negative. Hantavirus RNA was not detected in either sample. We learnt that he kept two pet agouti rats (Rattus norvegicus) that he had acquired from a larger pack bred in England. Seoul hantavirus RNA was detected by RT-PCR 1 in blood taken from these two rats and from seven of the larger group. In November, 2011, one of the English owners had been hospitalised with fever, renal impairment, spleno megaly, and thrombo cytopenia that was secondary to an unidentifi ed viral illness. Retrospective Seoul hantavirus serological Lancet 2013; 381: 1070 Rare and Imported Pathogens Department (S

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    • "However, more recently the virus has been isolated from wild brown rats in the UK [17] and pet rats in the UK and Sweden [18-20]. In addition, SEOV associated HFRS has been reported in four cases in the UK and France, all of which were clinically severe and involved renal impairment [17,21,22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hantaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses, which are transmitted to humans primarily via inhalation of aerosolised virus in contaminated rodent urine and faeces. Whilst infected reservoir hosts are asymptomatic, human infections can lead to two clinical manifestations, haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), with varying degrees of clinical severity. The incidence of rodent and human cases of Seoul virus (SEOV) in Europe has been considered to be low, and speculated to be driven by the sporadic introduction of infected brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) via ports. Between October 2010 and March 2012, 128 brown rats were caught at sites across the Lyon region in France. SEOV RNA was detected in the lungs of 14% (95% CI 8.01 - 20.11) of brown rats tested using a nested pan-hantavirus RT-PCR (polymerase gene). Phylogenetic analysis supports the inclusion of the Lyon SEOV within Lineage 7 with SEOV strains originating from SE Asia and the previously reported French & Belgian SEOV strains. Sequence data obtained from the recent human SEOV case (Replonges) was most similar to that obtained from one brown rat trapped in a public park in Lyon city centre. We obtained significantly improved recovery of virus genome sequence directly from SEOV infected lung material using a simple viral enrichment approach and NGS technology. The detection of SEOV in two wild caught brown rats in the UK and the multiple detection of SEOV infected brown rats in the Lyon region of France, suggests that SEOV is circulating in European brown rats. Under-reporting and difficulties in identifying the hantaviruses associated with HFRS may mask the public health impact of SEOV in Europe.
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    ABSTRACT: We present a case of an undifferentiated febrile illness in a 59-year-old man from East Yorkshire. He was initially treated for leptospirosis due to the fact that he had farm exposure and the findings of acute kidney injury (AKI), thrombocytopenia and a raised alanine transferase (ALT) on his initial blood results. Serology tests later proved him to have had another rodent-borne illness: hantavirus. An investigation by Public Health England (formerly known as Health Protection Agency) (PHE) went on to prove the presence of the same serotype of hantavirus in rats caught on the patient's property. After an initial deterioration, the patient made a relatively uneventful recovery and all his blood tests returned to normal levels.
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