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the impact of infectious diseases

Hantavirus: CHASE by Marco Goeijenbier

Hantaviruses can cause severe disease in humans all over the world. Simply said two known syndromes are caused by hantaviruses: the hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), with the milder subtype nephropathia epidemica (NE) and the hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS). HFRS occurs all over Europe and Asia and patients present with high fever, kidney problems and potential lethal bleeding complications. While HCPS causes a disease that affects the lungs and heart in such a heavy way that about 40-50% of the people with symptoms eventually die. Hantaviruses are spread by rodents and therefore are most common in areas with higher rodent exposure. These are often (sub)tropical areas with lowered socio-economical levels. With climate changing, decreased biodiversity and increased (human) traffic it is expected all pathogens spread by rodent will increase rapidly in the upcoming years. Therefore we decided to focus on two, in our opinion, very important research Lines in the CHASE initiative. At first, we would like to generate awareness of hantavirus disease by conducting serological studies. These studies have the aim to show the amount of hantavirus infections in certain areas. Especially in those we expect to have a lot of hantavirus activity but this has not been proven yet. Currently we are studying hantavirus infections in Indonesia and the Netherlands and first results shall be published short time from now. Another part of the CHASE study is to understand the mechanisms on how hantavirus can cause disease in humans. This is not only important because there is no vaccine or adequate treatment for hantavirus disease, also certain mechanisms the hantavirus uses to cause disease in humans might be similar to  other severe bleeding diseases like leptospirosis, dengue or even ebola. Currently we achieved to publish two extended reviews (references below) while we are analyzing the first results from both the awareness studies as the experimental work on disease mechanisms. These should be published in peer reviewed journals within six months. As the first letter of the CHASE study indicates this is a collaborative project between several institutes. For now important partners in the CHASE study are:  “Airllanga University, Surabaya, Indonesia, METLA Finish Forest Intitute, Vantaa, Finland, RIVM, Bilthoven, the Netherlands, University College Dublin and Smittskyddinstitutet, Solna, Sweden”

  • Goeijenbier, M., Nur, E., Goris, M., Wagenaar, J. F., Grunberg, K., Nurmohamed, S. A., Martina, B. E., Osterhaus, A. D., van Gorp, E. C.M., An unusual cause of a usual presentation. Hantavirus infection, Neth. J. Med., 69, 285, 2011.
  • Goeijenbier, M., van, W. M., van de, W. C., Jong, E., Gerdes, V. E., Meijers, J. C., Brandjes, D. P., van Gorp, E. C.M., Review: Viral infections and mechanisms of thrombosis and bleeding, J. Med. Virol., 84, 1680, 2012.
  • Goeijenbier, M., Wagenaar, J., Goris, M., Martina, B., Henttonen, H., Vaheri, A., Reusken, C., Hartskeerl, R., Osterhaus, A., van Gorp,  E.C.M., Rodent-borne hemorrhagic fevers: under-recognized, widely spread and preventable - epidemiology, diagnostics and treatment, Crit Rev. Microbiol., 39, 26, 2013.