In Germany, infections with hantavirs, which are transmitted by mice, are increasing. There are more infections than during the pandemic two years ago. The head of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg warns that “many people may become infected this year”. Could the same thing happen in Poland?
According to the Federal Health Office in Baden-Württemberg, wherever mice live, or small rodents that look like mice, a large number of people can be infected with hantavirus, which causes a flu-like illness. Rodents transmit disease, but do not contract it themselves.
There are more Hantavirus infections than the previous epidemic
Since the beginning of the year 894 people have contracted hantavirus in Germany. For comparison, 833 cases of infection were reported during the last epidemic in 2019. – Hantavirus infection occurs regularly in Baden-Württemberg. The state’s president, Wolfgang Reimer, said that based on current figures, it can be assumed that many more people could become infected this year.
Hantavirus disease usually has symptoms similar to those of the flu: high fever, headache and pain in the extremities, nausea and vomiting. But it can also affect the kidneys and lead to their acute failure. The disease is treated by symptoms only, and there is no vaccine against it.
How do you get hantavirus?
In Germany, the main source of hantavirus infection is inhalation of dust from red-backed mouse feces (also known as forest fowl). Rodents also excrete the virus in saliva and urine. You can get it when cleaning garages or barns where these animals like to live. To prevent infection, avoid contact with rodents, their secretions and secretions.
Foresters, fishermen, and construction workers are especially susceptible to hantavirus infection. But forest shelters and barbecue booths can also be dangerous for people.
In Poland, to date, the largest number of cases caused by hantaviruses has been recorded in the Podkarpackie district (endemic area). In 2005-2018, approximately 150 cases of hantavirus were found in this region. Dr. Waklaw Bentkowski, a nephrologist from the Clinic for Nephrology with a Dialysis Station at Regional Clinical Hospital No. 1 in Rzeszow, who has made observations of hantavirus infection, told Puls Medycyny that “until 2014, infections caused by hantaviruses were considered mild. However, in 2014, there were as many as 54 cases of infection, and three people died due to complications.” However, the true scale of infection cannot be ascertained – those with a moderate course are not reported, so they are not included in the statistics.
Source: PAP / „medicine pulse
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