Hantavirus found in African wood mouse

Apr 18, 2006

Scientists have reported the discovery of the first African hantavirus, a type of rodent-borne virus that can cause life-threatening infections in humans.

The hantavirus infects humans when it is inhaled through aerosolized rodent urine or droppings.

A team led by Jan ter Meulen while he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute international research scholar at the University of Conakry in the Republic of Guinea, identified the virus in an African wood mouse in Sangassou, Guinea.

"The discovery of an African hantavirus will significantly advance the understanding of hantavirus evolution and of rodent evolution," said ter Meulen.

European and Asian hantaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, a group of similar illnesses with symptoms that include fever, kidney failure, and bleeding. The viruses are carried by a number of rodents and, if left untreated, mortality can be as high as 15 percent.

Hantavirus was not seen in the Americas until 1993, when it killed approximately 20 people in the Western United States. The American virus causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome: fever, chills, and muscle pain, followed by respiratory distress. Nearly four in 10 cases are fatal.

The research appears in the May issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Greenland darkening to continue, predicts CCNY expert Marco Tedesco

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Expert offers advice on how to 'pitch' a good research idea

7 hours ago

For many students or junior academics—and even for senior investigators—initiating a new piece of research can be a daunting experience, and they often do not know where or how to begin. A recent Accounting and Finance ar ...

A better grasp of primate grip

8 hours ago

Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history.

Oldest fossils controversy resolved

8 hours ago

New analysis of world-famous 3.46 billion-year-old rocks by researchers from The University of Western Australia is set to finally resolve a long-running evolutionary controversy.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.