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Jan H. ter Meulen

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date: 02 March 2021

Arenaviruses are zoonotic RNA viruses that are distributed worldwide and are adapted to various rodent genera. Some are highly pathogenic and cause haemorrhagic fevers that are endemic in restricted regions of a few countries. Humans are thought to become infected mainly through inhalation of aerosolized rodent urine or dust particles to which infectious urine has dried, or by ingestion of contaminated foodstuff: prevention therefore depends on rodent control and avoidance of contact with rodents, their excreta, and nesting materials. Because arenaviruses cause diseases that start insidiously and therapy is life-saving, they should be considered in all patients with fever of unknown origin and a history of possible exposure in the well-known endemic areas.

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