First recorded case of Tula hantavirus in humans
For the first time, the tula virus, which is one of the hantaviruses, was found to be the proven cause of a disease with acute kidney failure in a German patient. This is the fourth documented case in Germany in which hantaviruses, which are rampant in various rodents, were transmitted to humans.
Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) provided the first molecular evidence in a specific case that the tula virus, which is common in rodents, can infect humans and cause serious illnesses. The results were recently presented in the journal “Emerging Infectious Diseases”.
The first patient with Tula hantaviruses
As the working group reports, the young man was admitted to hospital with symptoms of acute kidney failure. Initial examinations suggested a hantavirus infection. By means of a subsequent molecular analysis, the research team was able to identify the tula virus as the cause of a disease in a patient in Germany for the first time.
“This result is now moving the field mouse and the tula virus associated with it more into the focus of hantavirus epidemiology and will require better typing of hantavirus diseases in the future,” emphasizes Professor Dr. Rainer Ulrich, Head of the National Reference Laboratory for Hantaviruses in Animals at the FLI.
The field mouse has a tendency to mass reproduce
“The occurrence of human infections with tulaviruses should be monitored more closely because of the mass reproductions that occur in the field mouse,” emphasizes the hantavirus expert. In addition to the hantaviruses, so-called leptospira and cowpox viruses are also considered to be zoonotic pathogens in field mice.
Four human pathogens Hantaviren
So far, four rodent-borne hantaviruses have been discovered that can be transmitted to humans and cause diseases there. Most of the confirmed cases of illness can be traced back to the so-called Puumala virus. The bank vole is considered a reservoir host. “The Puumala virus occurs only in the western, northwest and southern parts of Germany, while it was not found in the eastern part of Germany,” the researchers write.
The tula virus, which has now been detected in humans for the first time, is closely related to the puumala virus and occurs in rodents in all parts of Germany, mainly in field mice. The puumala virus and the tula virus are so closely related that they can only be differentiated through a complex analysis in special laboratories.
In addition to the two above-mentioned hantaviruses, so-called Dobrava-Belgrade viruses are also rampant in the eastern part of Germany and are mainly spread via the fire mouse. Here, too, diseases that have already been caused in humans have been described.
In addition, a young woman in Germany was recently infected with the Seoul virus, which is also a hantavirus, via her pet rat for the first time. You can find more about this case in the article: “Hantavirus: Infection by Asian virus species detected for the first time in Germany”. (vb)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
Diploma-Editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut: First molecular detection of a human disease caused by the Tula hantavirus (published: 23.03.2021), fli.de
- Jörg Hofmann, Stephanie Kramer, Klaus R. Herrlinger, et al.: Tula Virus as Causative Agent of Hantavirus Disease in Immunocompetent Person, Germany; in: Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2021, cdc.gov
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.
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