Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Clinical Findings: Evaluating a Surveillance Case Definition
Clinical cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) can be challenging to differentiate from other acute respiratory diseases, which can lead to delays in diagnosis, treatment, and disease reporting. Rapid onset of severe disease occurs, at times before diagnostic test results are available. This study's objective was to examine the clinical characteristics of patients that would indicate HPS to aid in detection and reporting. Test results of blood samples from U.S. patients suspected of having HPS submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1998-2010 were reviewed. Patient information collected by case report forms was compared between HPS-confirmed and test-negative patients. Diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and likelihood ratios were calculated for individual clinical findings and combinations of variables. Of 567 patients included, 36% were HPS-confirmed. Thrombocytopenia, chest x-rays with suggestive signs, and receiving supplemental oxygenation were highly sensitive (>95%), while elevated hematocrit was highly specific (83%) in detecting HPS. Combinations that maximized sensitivity required the presence of thrombocytopenia. Using a national sample of suspect patients, we found that thrombocytopenia was a highly sensitive indicator of HPS and should be included in surveillance definitions for suspected HPS. Using a sensitive suspect case definition to identify potential HPS patients that are confirmed by highly specific diagnostic testing will ensure accurate reporting of this disease.
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