By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa reports the first laboratory-confirmed imported case of a hantavirus infection in May 2021.

Image/Robert Herriman

The case involved a 37-year-old South African businessman, living and working in Crikvenica, Croatia. He had been ill prior to a return visit to South Africa, and was hospitalized in Johannesburg with acute febrile illness and renal dysfunction. He presented with moderate thrombocytopenia, a normal white cell count and marginally raised liver enzyme levels. Other symptoms included pulmonary edema, cardiomegaly and blurred vision.

Before developing illness, the patient visited horse stables located in a rural area in Croatia. The presence of rodents in such an area can be anticipated.

Croatia is endemic for Hantavirus hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) associated with two different hantaviruses, namely PUUV and Dobrava virus (DOBV). Humans are exposed to hantavirus through contact with aerosolized urine, droppings, saliva or nesting materials of infected rodents, which are the natural reservoir hosts. Transmission occurs through contact with mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) or broken skin.