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Hantavirus

Hantaviruses (HTV), which are a part of the family Bunyaviridae, are emerging, enveloped RNA viruses, which cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Europe and Asia with up to 20% mortality rate and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HPS) in Americas with up to 40% mortality rate. In Europe, two main HTV cause HFRS: Puumala (PUUV) and Dobrava (DOBV), but some low pathogenic HTV are detected as well.

Reservoirs for HTV are small rodents with persistent infection and no manifest of the disease. There is still a significant lack of knowledge about the immune response to HTV in humans and rodents. The strong proinflammatory response during acute infection in humans is probably responsible for viral clearance but also for a potentially fatal proinflammatory-mediated disease. The mechanisms mediating the persistence of HTV and the absence of clinical symptoms in rodent reservoirs are still mostly unknown and the lack of an animal model additionally hinders HFRS research. So far, no effective antivirals, vaccines, or immunotherapeutics exist for HFRS.