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Open Access Hantaviruses: An Overview

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Hantaviruses are a newly emerging group of rodent-borne viruses that have significant zoonotic potential. Human infection by hantaviruses can result in profound morbidity and mortality, with death rates as high as 50%, and potentially long-term cardiovascular consequences. Hantaviruses are carried by peridomestic and wild rodents worldwide and have occasionally been linked to infections in laboratory rodents. Because these viruses have been associated with significant human disease, they have become the subject of intense scientific investigation. In this review the reader is introduced to the hantaviruses, including hantavirus diseases and their pathogenesis. A review of the biology, morphology, and molecular biology of the hantaviruses with a brief overview of the ecology and biology of hantavirus-rodent pairs is also included. The risks of occupational exposure to hantaviruses, diagnosis of hantavirus infections, and methods for handling potentially infected rodents and tissues are discussed as well.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Animal Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, 1600 East Rollins Road, Columbia, Missouri 65211

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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