Hantaviruses comprise a genus of the Bunyaviridae family and naturally infect wild rodents without causing clinical symptoms. When acquired by inhalation of aerosolized rodent excreta, hantaviruses can cause life‐threatening diseases in humans, such as haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Asia and Europe and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the Americas.

Keywords: Hantaviruses; Bunyaviridae; rodent‐borne; haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome; HFRS; hantavirus pulmonary syndrome; HPS; molecular biology; epidemiology

Figure 1.

Structure of hantavirus particles. (a) Electron micrograph of mature particles. (b) Schematic illustration of a particle. (c) Genome organization. The 3′ and 5′ noncoding regions of each RNA segment are indicated in white.

Figure 2.

Replication of hantaviruses. (a) Cap‐stealing mechanism (* indicates L protein with cap‐stealing activity). (b) Capped primer‐mediated synthesis of viral mRNA. (c) Translation of viral proteins. (d) Synthesis of full‐length viral complementary RNA (cRNA). (e) Synthesis of full‐length viral genomic RNA. For details see Replication section in the text.

Figure 3.

Clinical phases of severe haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). For details see Clinical Features section in the text.


Further Reading

Nichol ST (1999) Genetic analysis of hantaviruses and their host relationships. In: Saluzzo JF and Dodet B (eds) Factors in the Emergence and Control of Rodent‐Borne Viral Diseases, pp. 90–109. Paris: Elsevier.

Papadimitriou M (1995) Hantavirus nephropathy. Kidney International 48: 887–902.

Peters CJ (1998) Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the Americas. In: Scheld WM, Craig WA and Hughes JM (eds) Emerging Infections II, pp. 17–64. Washington, DC: ASM Press.

Plyusnin A, Vapalahti O and Vaheri A (1996) Hantaviruses: genome structure, expression and evolution. Journal of General Virology 77: 2677–2687.

Schmaljohn CS and Hjelle B (1997) Hantaviruses: a global disease problem. Emerging Infectious Diseases 3: 95–104.

Schmaljohn CS and LeDuc JW (1998) Bunyaviridae. In: Mahy BWJ and Collier L (eds) Topley & Wilson's Microbiology and Microbial Infections, vol. 1, pp. 601–628. London: Edward Arnold.

Schmaljohn CS, Calisher C and Lee HW (1999) Manual of Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, pp. 1–250. Seoul, South Korea: WHO Collaborating Center for Virus Reference and Research (Hantaviruses); Asian Insitute for Life Sciences.

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Feldmann, Heinz(Jan 2003) Hantaviruses. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001025]