- Puumala virus is a species of hantavirus, and causes nephropathia epidemica. It is common in northern Europe and Russia.
- The bank vole acts as a reservoir for the virus, and nephropathia epidemica therefore peaks at the same time the population of these voles, typically every 3 to 4 years. Farmers are often exposed to the droppings of these animals and are therefore more commonly infected.
- The virus was found and named in 1980 by two Finnish researchers Markus Brummer-Korvenkontio and Antti Vaheri.
Nephropathia epidemica is a virus-infection caused by the Puumala virus. The incubation period is three weeks. It has a sudden onset with fever, headache, backpain and gastrointestinal symptoms, but sometimes worse symptoms such as internal hemorrhaging and it can even lead to death. It is more mild than the haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome that can be observed in other parts of the world. 80% of infected individuals are asymptomatic or develop only mild symptoms, and the disease does not spread from human to human. The bank vole is the reservoir for the virus, which is contracted from aerosolized droppings.
This infection is known as myyräkuume in Finland (Mole fever) as the virus can spread to humans from dust that the virus has spread to from moles and mice. In Sweden it is known as sorkfeber (Vole fever). In Norway it is called "musepest" (mouse plague).
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