WHO | Seoul virus – United States of America and Canada – “Profits and Potential Pandemics”

Information on Seoul virusSeoul virus is a type of hantavirus that is transmitted from rats to humans after exposure to aerosolized urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents, or after exposure to dust from their nests or bedding. Transmission may also occur from rat bites or when contaminated materials are directly introduced into broken skin or onto mucous membranes. For Seoul virus, the natural host is the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the black rat (Rattus rattus). This virus has been found in both pet rats and wild rat populations around the world. The incubation period varies from 1 to 8 weeks; however, most individuals develop symptoms within 1 to 2 weeks after exposure. Seoul virus infection symptoms can range from mild to severe. In the severe form of the disease, patients can exhibit bleeding and renal syndromes. Inapparent infections can also occur. Seoul virus infection is not transmissible from human to human. There is no effective treatment available for Seoul virus infection.

WHO risk assessment Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is the severe form of the infection with Seoul virus. The case fatality rate (CFR) among humans who develop HFRS due to Seoul virus ranges from 1-2%. Of the 11 cases reported in the United States so far, two were hospitalized and none have died.Although the three HFRS cases in Canada are still under investigation, there is some evidence of an epidemiological link to the United States Seoul virus outbreak.There is no available information on

Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is the severe form of the infection with Seoul virus. The case fatality rate (CFR) among humans who develop HFRS due to Seoul virus ranges from 1-2%. Of the 11 cases reported in the United States so far, two were hospitalized and none have died.Although the three HFRS cases in Canada are still under investigation, there is some evidence of an epidemiological link to the United States Seoul virus outbreak.There is no available information on further distribution of the infected rats outside of the United States and Canada. Rats do not show symptoms of disease when they are infected with Seoul virus. Once infected, rats can continue to shed virus throughout their lives, potentially infecting other rats and humans. The United States CDC is working with state health departments in the United States and others to investigate the outbreak of Seoul virus infections in pet rats and humans, to trace shipments and transport of rats, some of which may be infected with Seoul virus, to better understand how the virus entered the pet trade and to interrupt transmission of Seoul virus to other rats and humans.Because there is presently no effective treatment for Seoul virus infection, preventing infections in people is important.If infected rodents have contact with local rat populations, the infection with Seoul virus could spread to non-infected rodents and consequently change the prevalence of this zoonotic disease, both in rodents and in humans.WHO adviceInternational pet trade has the potential to spread and cause emerging or re-emerging disease in humans. WHO encourages State Parties to developed and maintain the capacity to detect, and report similar events.

Source: WHO | Seoul virus – United States of America and Canada