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Because of the speed with which influenza travels around the world, and the potential for development of virulent influenza virus strains, the disease poses an extremely serious threat to humankind. Most deaths from influenza are caused by secondary bacterial infections. Respiratory syncytial virus is the leading cause of serious respiratory disease in infants and young children. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, first

Total Cases (N = 289 in 31 States)

Total Cases (N = 289 in 31 States)

Figure 23.23 Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Cases, United States, as of January 30, 2002

Table 23.13 Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Symptoms

Fever, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, shortness of breath, shock

Incubation period

3 days to 6 weeks

Causative agent

Sin Nombre and related hantaviruses of the bunyavirus family

Pathogenesis

Viral antigen localizes in capillary walls in the lungs; inflammation

Epidemiology

Zoonosis likely to involve humans in proximity to booming mouse populations; generally no person-to-person spread

Prevention and and treatment

Avoid contact with rodents; seal access to houses food supplies; good ventilation, avoid dust, use disinfectants in cleaning rodent-contaminated areas. No proven antiviral treatment

recognized in 1993, is often fatal. It is contracted from inhalation of dust contaminated by mice infected with certain hantaviruses.

■ Why are there so many deaths from influenza when it is generally a mild disease?

■ What is the source of the virus that causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?

■ Why might you expect an influenza epidemic to be more severe following an antigenic shift in the virus than after antigenic drift?

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