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Hantaviruses are a group of viruses that are carried by rodents.
Human infection occurs where people come into unusual and intense contact with infected rodent populations, mainly through inhaling dust containing dried rodent excreta in and around the home but also in the wild.
There are two forms of hantavirus infections.
Haemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS)
The first symptom is usually a fever. The second symptom is malfunction of the kidneys. The third symptom is a low platelet count. When the number of platelets in blood is reduced, blood clotting does not occur properly. A person tends to haemorrhage or bleed easily. Other symptoms include a pain in the head, stomach, and lower back. People may also have bloodshot eyes and blurry vision. Haemorrhaging may occur through tiny openings on the upper body and in the mouth. The patient's face, chest, abdomen, and back often appear bright red, as if sunburned.
Five to six days into the disease, the patient may experience a sudden drop in blood pressure. He or she may go into shock. Shock occurs when the heart does not pump enough blood through the veins and arteries. Cells do not get blood and the needed oxygen it carries. Shock can cause damage to the body's organs, especially the brain.
After about eight days, kidney damage may taken place. The kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins (poisons) out of the blood. If the kidneys do not function properly, those toxins can damage cells throughout the body. Haemorrhaging may also become more serious throughout the body. Blood may begin to appear in the urine or when a person vomits. Haemorrhaging in the brain can cause the most serious problems that can include a loss of consciousness.
These symptoms can become even more serious about eleven days into the infection. A person may become very confused, begin to have hallucinations, and go into seizures. A person who hallucinates sees and hears things that are not really there. Problems can also develop with the lungs and the ability to breathe normally.
At this point, the patient faces a turning point. He or she may continue to become more and more ill, with death as the result. Or the infection may begin to clear up. In the latter case, full recovery may take up to six weeks.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
The first symptoms of HPS are fever and a sudden drop in blood pressure. These symptoms may be followed by shock and loss of blood in the lungs. When this happens, fluids may collect in the lungs, leading to shortness of breath. These symptoms can occur so quickly that the patient goes into respiratory failure in a matter of hours. Respiratory failure means that the patient has lost the ability to breathe on his or her own.
Hantavirus infections are very lethal (capable of causing death). About 6 to 15 percent of those who develop HFRS will die of the disease.
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We will send you your Hantavirus Serology blood test sample collection kit together with the details of a convenient clinic where you can go and have your sample taken.
Your Hantavirus Serology test includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your blood sample directly to our laboratory for analysis. If you live in an area where you cannot rely on the post or you simply want to ensure that your sample arrives at the laboratory the following day, you may wish to send your blood sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.
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Our medical team will comment on out-of-range blood test results and give you follow-up advice where necessary. If you need it, a PDF copy of your Hantavirus Serology test results can be downloaded for your doctor.
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