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Fri Mar 31 15:19:47 EST 1995

On Thu, 30 Mar 1995 Bernstein at WSU-ID.Dayton.OH.US wrote:

> In article <3l99h1$bis at usenet.srv.cis.pitt.edu> Sally Neiser <swn+ at pitt.edu> writes:
> >From: Sally Neiser <swn+ at pitt.edu>
> >Subject: hanta virus
> >Date: 28 Mar 1995 15:21:05 GMT
> >I'm new to this group, and have a question on the hanta (sp?)
> >virus that was spread by deermice in Arizona a year or so ago.
> >I'm going to a Hopi Indian reservation near Houck, AZ, and
> >wondered if there would be any danger to young children if
> >they went along. Any advice would be much appreciated. TIA. 
> It is unlikely that a "tourist" would catch this virus. The "outbreak" was 
> associated with an explosive increase in the deer mouse population associated 
> with a more rainy than usual season. These mice came indoors and the virus was 
> transmitted, presumably, by inhaling the virus which was excreted in the mouse 
> urine and then contaminated the dirt in the dwellings in question.
> Note that the majority of cases in the Sin Nombre / Four Corners outbreak were 
> seen in scattered dwellings on the reservation.

The hantavirus you're referring to (now called Sin Nombre virus) is 
associated with adult disease, not with disease in children.  In fact, 
the disease is called adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).  There 
has been at least one fatal case of ARDS in a "tourist", in a college 
student vacationing in Long Island last summer.  However, I don't think the 
virus that caused that illness was identical to the isolates found in the 
southwest, and it seems to have been associated with white-footed mice 
rather than with deer 
mice.  You might want to contact the Arizona State Department of Health 
to get information on the current prevalence of the virus in the Houck 
region (the State Epidemiologist or someone in the Department of 

Some interesting articles concerning hantaviruses in the USA:
* Ksiazek, T.G. et al., Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 52: 117-123 (1995)
* Morzunov,S.P. et al., J. Virology 69: 1980-1983 (1995)
* Hjelle, B. et al., J. Virology 68: 592-596 (1994)
* Spiropoulou, C.F. et al., Virology 200: 715-723 (1994)
* Nichol, S.T. et al., Science 262: 914-917 (1993)
* Hughes, J.H. et al., Science 262: 850-851 (1993)
* Science 262: 832-836 (1993) 

The latter article is a good overview of the USA hantavirus outbreak and 
epidemiological investigations, written in very understandable language.

Patricia Repik
REPIK at medcolpa.edu

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