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NAME: Hantavirus

SYNONYM OR CROSS REFERENCE: Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), hemorrhagic nephrosonephritis, epidemic hemorrhagic fever, Korean hemorrhagic fever, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS),

CHARACTERISTICS: 3 segmented spherical to oval enveloped virus particles 80 – 115 nm in diameter. Bunyaviridae; single stranded, negative sense RNA genome; 25 antigenically distinguishable viral species


PATHOGENICITY: HFRS characterized by an abrupt onset of fever lasting 3-8 days, conjunctival injection, prostration, lower back pain, headache, abdominal pains, anorexia and vomiting; hemorrhagic manifestation appears from third to sixth day, followed by proteinuria, hypotension and shock; fatality (5-15%) occurs during the hypotension and oliguric phase, Hantaan virus (HFRS) causes most severe form of HFRS; HPS characterized by fever, myalgia, GI complaints then abrupt onset of respiratory distress and hypotension; mortality approx 40-50%; in survivors, recovery rapid with full restoration of normal lung function, convalescence takes weeks to months; Puumala (nephropathia epidemica) and Seoul virus cause less severe illness

EPIDEMIOLOGY: Endemic in areas with its rodent reservoir including China, Korea, Japan, Scandinavia, Commonwealth of Independent States; other hantaviruses have been identified in urban rats in major Asian and Western cities including USA and Brazil; HPS viruses (Sin Nombre, New York, Black Creek Canal, Bayou, Laguna Negra, Andes) in North and South America ; Hantaan virus found principally in Asia, Puumala virus in Europe and Seoul virus world wide

HOST RANGE: Field rodents (mice and rats), humans


MODE OF TRANSMISSION: Aerosol transmission from infected rodent excreta is presumed and has been demonstrated experimentally; virus present in urine, feces, saliva of persistently infected animals; virus concentration highest in the lungs of the rat; potential routes of transmission: ingestion, contact of infectious materials with mucous membranes, broken skin and via animal bites (rodent to human via bites has been documented); rodent to rodent transmission via bites; person-to-person transmission of hantavirus has not occurred in the USA, however person to transmission has occurred in Argentina, person-to-person transmission is extremely rare

INCUBATION PERIOD: From 3-60 days; average 14-30 days

COMMUNICABILITY: Not generally believed to be directly transmitted from person-to-person with the possible exception of Andesvirus


RESERVOIR: Field rodents: Apodemus spp – Hantaan virus and Dobrova – Belgrade virus. in Korea, China and Balkan nations; Clethrionomys voles – Puumala virus in Scandinavia, Commonwealth of Independent States, China; Peromyscus (Deer mouse) and Microtus rodents – Sin Nombre virus in USA; Rattus spp.- Seoul virus worldwide; humans are accidental hosts

ZOONOSIS: Yes – infection acquired by contact with infected rodents



DRUG SUSCEPTIBILITY: Ribavirin given IV has shown to be effective during the early phase of the HFRS illness; has not shown any effectiveness for HPS to date

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO DISINFECTANTS: Susceptible to 1% sodium hypochlorite (10% sodium hypochlorite for heavily soiled material), 70% ethanol, 2% glutaraldehyde

PHYSICAL INACTIVATION: Sensitive to heat: Vero E6 cells infected with Hantavirus were completely inactivated after heating for 1 hr at 60° C, nearly 90% of infectious particles were lost by heating at 56° C for 30 minutes; Hantaan virus have shown sensitivity to a pH of 5

SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: Sensitive to drying; virus isolated from immunocytomas stored for 2-8 years; infectivity of Hantavirus has been reported to persist in neutral solutions for several hours at 37° C and for several days at lower temperatures as well as in dried cell cultures for up to 2 days; virus suspensions have been stored at -60° C in balanced salt solution + 1% bovine albumin for over 5 years and remain infectious


SURVEILLANCE: Monitor for symptoms; confirm by serology and viral isolation

FIRST AID/TREATMENT: Administer ribavirin IV for HFRS; supportive therapy for HPS

IMMUNIZATION: None available

PROPHYLAXIS: None available


LABORATORY-ACQUIRED INFECTIONS: Infections were documented in laboratories over 6 countries; by the end of 1985, 126 laboratory-acquired infections of HFRS reported in Japan; in 1986 4 laboratory-acquired infections reported in the U.K.; most cases were caused by aerosols generated by infected rodents

SOURCES/SPECIMENS: Urine, respiratory secretions, saliva of rats

PRIMARY HAZARDS: Aerosol and droplet exposure of the mucous membranes, accidental parenteral inoculation, ingestion

SPECIAL HAZARDS: Generation of aerosols when working with infected rodents


CONTAINMENT REQUIREMENTS: Biosafety level 2 containment equipment and facilities with level 3 operational practices involving clinical specimens for serology and PCR, biosafety level 3 practices and facilities for all other activities involving the virus, clinical specimens and rodents; additional primary containment and personnel precautions may be indicated for activities with a high risk of aerosol or droplet production

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Gloves and gowns and goggles / face shield should be worn when handling potentially infectious specimens, cultures or tissues; field studies: protective clothing, gowns, shoe coverings, gloves (2 pair) goggles, half face respirator or powered air purifying respirator (HEPA)

OTHER PRECAUTIONS: Gloved hands should be washed with soap and water or a suitable disinfectant. Hands should be thoroughly washed with soap and water immediately after removing gloves


SPILLS: Allow aerosols to settle; wearing protective clothing, gently cover spill with paper towel and apply 1% sodium hypochlorite (10% sodium hypochlorite for heavily soiled material), starting at the perimeter and working towards the centre; allow sufficient contact time (30 min) before clean up

DISPOSAL: Decontaminate before disposal – steam sterilization, incineration, chemical disinfection

STORAGE: In sealed containers that are appropriately labelled


Date prepared: May, 2001

Prepared by: Office of Laboratory Security, PHAC

Although the information, opinions and recommendations contained in this Material Safety Data Sheet are compiled from sources believed to be reliable, we accept no responsibility for the accuracy, sufficiency, or reliability or for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information. Newly discovered hazards are frequent and this information may not be completely up to date.

Copyright © Health Canada, 2001

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