Hantavirus (HTV) is recently discovered "hemorrhagic fever virus" belonging to the Bunyaviridae family, which is spread throughout the world by wild rodents and/or laboratory rats. During an epidemic in the Belgian-French Ardennes in 1993, more than 200 acute cases were recorded of the milder European form of HTV-illness, otherwise known as Nephropathia epidemica (NE). This variant may be recognized by the sudden onset of fever, acute renal failure, thrombocytopenia and sometimes by ophthalmologic complications. The symptomatology is rather aspecific and diagnosis can only be confirmed by serologic tests, of which the best option nowadays seems to be: screening by IgG EIA, followed by IgM confirmation with a mu-capture EIA test. Some of the tests described allow an evaluation of the causative serotype or even the moment of infection. Next to the "classic" serologic assays for detection of specific viral antibodies, we describe briefly our own experience with newer tests such as "high density particle agglutination" and "line immuno assay". Polymerase chain reaction for viral RNA genome typing and immunohistochemical colouring of the viral antigen in tissues seem to offer promising alternatives for the immediate future.

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Acta Clinica Belgica
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Clement, J. P. G., McKenna, P., Groen, J., Osterhaus, A., Colson, P., Vervoort, T., … Lee, H. W. (1995). Epidemiology and laboratory diagnosis of Hantavirus (HTV) infections. Acta Clinica Belgica, 50(1), 9–19. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/3528