Published Date: 2010-08-09 17:00:04
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Hantavirus update 2010 - Europe (05): Germany
Archive Number: 20100809.2719
HANTAVIRUS UPDATE 2010 - EUROPE (05): GERMANY
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sun 8 Aug 2010
Source: Seismoblog, Wikinews report [in German, machine trans., edited]
The cause of death of a young woman in Pforzheim at the end of July 
was an infection with Puumala hantavirus [PUU]. This was announced by Dr
Roswitha Kull of the State Health Department. The virus spread in recent
years in Enzkreis [a district (Kreis) in the north west of
Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany] has been quite strong. From 28 cases of
notifiable infection in 2007, the number of illnesses has risen to 52 so
far in 2010. But Dr Kull indicated that there is a large number of
unreported cases, since in many cases, the disease has an unremarkable
[clinical] history. Only one in 20 cases will develop into more severe
clinical disease with kidney damage leading to renal failure.
Autopsy of the woman, who had been treated by dialysis, showed that the
cause of death was a heart attack after a pulmonary embolism. The death of
the woman, born in 1979 is unusual, as death [from Puumala virus infection]
occurs mainly in elderly people with underlying medical conditions.
In Germany cases of PUU virus infection occur particularly in the Swabian
Alps, in Lower Franconia, Lower Bavaria, and the Eifel [mountain range]; in
Austria it is mostly seen in the states of Carinthia and Styria.
The virus spreads primarily in the faeces of bank voles. People become
infected when cleaning garages and basements, but also at work in woods and
gardens, through inhalation of contaminated dust. Person to person
transmission of the virus itself does not occur. Infection is prevented
mainly by wearing a surgical mask when working in locations contaminated by
rodent feces and urine. There is no vaccine.
[byline: Birgit Hoffmann]
HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail
[Human hantavirus infections continue to occur in Germany. The hantavirus
involved in these cases is Puumala virus. The bank vole, _Myodes
glareolus_, is a recognized Puumala virus reservoir in Germany.
An image of the bank vole can be accessed at
A political map of Germany showing the regions mentioned can be accessed at
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Germany can be accessed at
<http://healthmap.org/r/026T>. - Mod.TY]