During the Korean war of 1950-1952, thousands of United Nations troops developed a disease marked by fever, hemorrhagic manifestations, and acute renal failure with shock; the case-fatality rate was 5-10%. The etiologic agent of this disease remained a mystery until 1978 when a virus, named Hantaan virus, was isolated in Korea from the field rodent Apodemus agrarius and identified as a unique bunyavirus. Since then, several related viruses have been found in other parts of the world in association with other rodents. These viruses comprise the genus Hantavirus. Five hantaviruses, Hantaan, Puumala, Belgrade, Seoul, and Muerto Canyon viruses, are associated with human diseases with different epidemiologic patterns, varying clinical manifestations, and a variety of local names (see Table 33-2).
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