Journal Article

A Case-Control Study after a Hantavirus Infection Outbreak in the South of Belgium: Who Is at Risk?

F. Van Loock, I. Thomas, J. Clement, S. Ghoos and P. Colson

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 28, issue 4, pages 834-839
Published in print April 1999 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 1999 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/515196
A Case-Control Study after a Hantavirus Infection Outbreak in the South of Belgium: Who Is at Risk?

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Puumala is the most common hantavirus serotype in Europe and is spread mainly by the red bank vole. Between 1 July 1992 and 31 January 1994, an outbreak of Puumala virus-induced nephropathia epidemica (NE) occurred in the Belgian Ardennes. Serologically confirmed cases (n = 41) were compared with two groups of asymptomatic seronegative controls. Risks identified included sighting of living rodents, exposure to rodent droppings, and trapping rodents during the 4 weeks preceding onset of symptoms. Activities during this 4-week period that presented the greatest risk were woodcutting, reopening of a nonaerated room, and strenuous physical effort. This is the first case-control study on risk factors for NE in Europe. In comparison with the American form of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which is spread by deer mice, professional activity appears to be a more important risk factor for acquisition of hantavirus in Europe.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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