Milder winters in northern Scandinavia may contribute to larger outbreaks of haemorrhagic fever virus
2009 (English)In: Global health action, ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The spread of zoonotic infectious diseases may increase due to climate factors such as temperature, humidity and precipitation. This is also true for hantaviruses, which are globally spread haemorrhagic fever viruses carried by rodents. Hantaviruses are frequently transmitted to humans all over the world and regarded as emerging viral diseases. Climate variations affect the rodent reservoir populations and rodent population peaks coincide with increased number of human cases of hantavirus infections. In northern Sweden, a form of haemorrhagic fever called nephropathia epidemica (NE), caused by the Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is endemic and during 2006-2007 an unexpected, sudden and large outbreak of NE occurred in this region. The incidence was 313 cases/100,000 inhabitants in the most endemic areas, and from January through March 2007 the outbreak had a dramatic and sudden start with 474 cases in the endemic region alone. The PUUV rodent reservoir is bank voles and immediately before and during the peak of disease outbreak the affected regions experienced extreme climate conditions with a record-breaking warm winter, registering temperatures 6-9 degrees C above normal. No protective snow cover was present before the outbreak and more bank voles than normal came in contact with humans inside or in close to human dwellings. These extreme climate conditions most probably affected the rodent reservoir and are important factors for the severity of the outbreak.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 2
hantavirus; climate; bank vole; Sweden
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-35092DOI: 10.3402/gha.v2i0.2020PubMedID: 20052429OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-35092DiVA: diva2:329061