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Question-Hanta Virus Status

bhjelle at unm.edu bhjelle at unm.edu
Mon Jan 22 11:01:44 EST 1996


In article <4dveld$368 at kuusi.metla.fi>,
Heikki Henttonen <msehah at niini.metla.fi> wrote:
>
>>
>>Is there any evidence suggesting the agent is restricted to warmer areas?
>
>Thinking about the number of rodent (and other mammal)  species and their 
>abundances, I would like to guess that there are more hantavirus "species" 
>at low latitudes, but those occurring at higher latitudes are more 
>prevalent. But so far this is only my educated speculation.

Not too wild an idea. As far as the original poster's
question, cases of HPS have been reported well into
British Columbia and Alberta, and down south as far
as Sao Paolo Brazil, northern Argentina, Patagonia,
and on the Parana River in eastern Argentina. As Heikki
suggests, there are not many species of rodents (and
hence a limited number of hantavirus species) in northern areas,
compared to regions close to the Equator. However, there
is plenty of hantavirus in Canada, as reflected in
rodent serosurveys and in human cases of HPS.

There are many more sigmodontine rodents (carriers of
HPS viruses) in equatorial regions than in the northern
US and Canada. Although we don't know how many viruses
are causing HPS in South America, there could be quite
a few.

>>Our area,(northern Montana plains) has a significant amount of grain milling,
>>and it was my feeling that the virus originally arrived from infected mice via 
>>rail and the grain shipments. Subsequent CDC investigation relating to the fatalities
>>was inconclusive, at least that which was reported to the public.  One of the 
>>fatalities was an employee of a mill.  The investigation did establish the virus 
>>occurring in local mouse populations, 
>
It is very likely that hantaviruses were present in
deer mice and voles in Montana long before humans
arrived, far before the invention of rail travel.

Brian





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