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Hantavirus Haemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome: Austria, Croatia, Hungary & Slovenia

26 Aug 2019

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), an increase in case numbers of hantavirus haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome has been recorded in four central European countries in 2019. Increases in hantavirus case numbers are known to occur in years when the population of bank voles grows due to increased food supply.

Austria: this year, up to August 2019, Austria has reported 200 hantavirus infections. About 90% of these were reported from Styria, which borders Slovenia. Austria usually reports fewer than 80 cases per year.

Croatia: up to August 2019, 149 cases with renal syndrome have been reported in the country, compared to 18 cases in all of 2018.

Hungary: nine confirmed hantavirus infections have been reported in the country up to August 2019. During the same period in 2018, there were 3 cases were reported.

Slovenia: According to Slovenian health authorities, as of 22 August 2019, 220 cases of hantavirus with renal syndrome have been reported in the country. Most of the cases have been reported in the Jugovzhodna Slovenija and Podravska Statistical Regions. About 80 cases are reported in Slovenia each year.

Advice to travellers

The risk to most travellers is low. Risk is increased in those living or working close to rural  forested areas/rodent infested buildings (including cleaning garages, cellars and sheds); campers, agricultural workers, building workers, soldiers are among those most likely to be exposed.

  • Travellers at risk should be advised of the risk of infection and take steps to minimise exposure to rodent excreta.
  • Protective clothing including face masks and ensuring adequate ventilation should be used when working in environments which may be contaminated with rodent faeces and urine.
  • Accomodation that has been out of use for many months should be well ventilated prior to entry.

There is no licensed vaccine in Europe.