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A potentially deadly virus is spreading across northern Europe

May 30, 2024  19:42

A potentially deadly virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans has already spread across northern Europe.

According to a new study, the dreaded virus can be transmitted from rodents to humans and cause bleeding similar to Ebola haemorrhagic fever.

The findings are published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Red voles in Sweden, which are vectors of the pathogen, have already infected two people, causing them to fall ill with viral haemorrhagic fever.

Back in 2018, doctors in Sweden diagnosed a case of epidemic nephropathy caused by a vole-borne virus, Puumala virus.

Recently, doctors found a case of ‘vole fever’ more than 300 miles away from where it was originally detected (about 483 kilometres - ed.) and the patient had not travelled out of the country before becoming infected, meaning the disease had spread to their hometown.

Symptoms of both cases included fever, general malaise, nosebleeds and deterioration of kidney function. Both patients recovered, but this prompted scientists at Uppsala University to investigate.

The scientists tested red voles in the county of Scania, where the virus was first discovered, and found that nine out of 74 individuals carried hantavirus genes.

Hantaviruses are mainly found in rodents such as mice, rats and voles and usually cause two types of disease in humans - haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). In the worst case scenario, GLPS can be fatal.

In addition, the scientists also found that rodents were infected with two strains of the virus - one from Sweden and one from Finland or the Russian Karelia.

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