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SEOUL VIRUS (SEOV)

 

Rat

 

Hantaviruses, from the Bunyaviridae family, are a group of viruses that are normally carried by rodents, such as rats, mice and voles. They are present throughout the world and they cause a range of diseases in humans ranging from mild, flu-like illness to severe respiratory illness or haemorrhagic disease with kidney involvement.

 

The seoul virus is a a rodent-borne hantavirus infection that came from Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) who are primary hosts of the virus and were introduced to port cities by the shipping trade and has since become established in most urban areas as well as rural places worldwide wherever rats are present. There have now been cases of humans being infected from pet rats.

Humans are terminal hosts for hantaviruses; which include the Hantaan and Seoul viruses and Korean hemorrhagic fever,however, the Andes virus has been shown to be able to spread from person-to-person (including from sexual transmission) and has caused several deaths.

Rats are immune to the virus so it does not cause disease in rats; but the virus causes a life-long infection and shedding of the virus in the rats urine, saliva and droppings. Humans can be infected through exposure to infectious body fluids (blood, saliva, urine), exposure to rat faeces or bites from infected rats. Many people show little or no symptoms but some can be seriously affected.

Symptoms of the seoul virus in some people
  • Abdominal pain.

  • A low white blood cell count.

  • Back pain.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Flushing of the face.

  • Gsto-intestinal disorders.

  • Headaches.

  • Influenza-like symptoms such as fever.

  • Nausea.

  • Redness and inflammation of the eyes.

  • Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, which can cause acute kidney failure and be fatal.

Haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), is a group of clinically similar illnesses occurring worldwide, and include Korean haemorrhagic fever, epidemic haemorrhagic fever and nephropathia epidemica. The viruses that cause HFRS include Dobrava, Hantaan, Puumala and Seoul.

Symptoms of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in humans manifest initially as fever, bleeding, bradycardia and conjunctival congestion.

The disease progresses with the development of abdominal pain, vomiting, haemorrhages, nephropathy, shock and renal failure.

Symptoms of renal involvement are hematuria, oliguria, proteinuria, and, later, production of copious isosthenuric urine. Fatality can occur during the oliguric phase.

Symptoms of the seoul virus infection usually begin within one to two weeks, but in rare cases, incubation can anything from two days to eight weeks., after exposure. Complete recovery can take weeks or months.

Like most viruses, there is no effective treatment for the seoul virus. People handling rats (as pets or as reptile or amphibian feed) should take precautions to minimize risk of infection, including hand hygiene, wearing gloves and cleaning up after rats. Breathing in dust from rat faeces can also cause infection.

 

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Related subjects

References

  • gov.uk/guidance/hantaviruses

  • the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/51561/title/CDC-Identifies-Seoul-Virus-Outbreak-Among-Pet-Rat-Owners/

  • sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9781416043904001922

  • publichealthontario.ca/en/BrowseByTopic/InfectiousDiseases/Pages/IDLandingPages/Seoul-virus-infection.aspx

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