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Cirion Foundation

the impact of infectious diseases

Hantavirus

The hantavirus causes severe disease everywhere in the World. Infections rates are high in tropical countries and rising in western civilization. In 2010 we started a PhD program collaboration between Erasmus MC university and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). Aim is to improve the knowledge on epidemiology and pathogenesis of these rodent-borne hemorrhagic fevers.

The hantavirus belongs to a group of pathogens that cause rodent-borne hemorrhagic fever all over the world. In Hanta this means excreta from different types of infected rodents contain infectious aerosol which can be transported to humans. The disease it causes depends on the sub-type of the hanta-virus and differs greatly around the globe. In Asia a syndrome called Hemorrhagic Fever Renal Syndrome causes severe kidney problems accompanied with heavy bleedings. Where in Central- and South-America hantaviruses cause a Hanta Pulmonary Syndrome with mortality rates going up to 50%.

Hantavirus is also a big problem in Europe with high incidence levels in the East- and Northern parts. Also infections rates are rising in Western-Europe. No specific treatment or vaccine is available yet. Increased knowledge on epidemiology and pathogenesis is essential for preventive measurements, like rodent-control, or the development of an effective treatment.

The forthcoming months we are going to study the significance of hantavirus infections in the Netherlands and Indonesia. Furthermore we will design and start clinical cohort studies in Indonesia an laboratory experiments.

 

More information by PhD candidate Marco Goeijenbier (Erasmus MC):