South Africa reports the first imported case of a hantavirus

From NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa reports the first laboratory-confirmed imported case of hantavirus infection in May 2021.

Picture / Robert Herriman

The case concerned a 37-year-old South African businessman who lives and works in Crikvenica, Croatia. He had been ill before a return visit to South Africa and was hospitalized in Johannesburg with an acute febrile illness and kidney dysfunction. He presented with moderate thrombocytopenia, normal white blood cell counts, and slightly elevated liver enzyme levels. Other symptoms included pulmonary edema, cardiomegaly, and blurred vision.

Before the illness, the patient visited horse stables in a rural area in Croatia. The presence of rodents in such an area is expected.

Croatia is endemic to Hantavirus Hemorrhagic Fever with Kidney Syndrome (HFRS), which is associated with two different hantaviruses, PUUV and Dobrava virus (DOBV). Humans are exposed to hantaviruses through contact with aerosolized urine, feces, saliva, or nesting material from infected rodents, which are the natural reservoir hosts. It is transmitted through contact with mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) or broken skin.

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