Significant rise in number of Puumala virus cases in Southern Finland
The presence of a virus akin to Nephropathia epidemica, known variously as Puumala virus, or "Mole fever" - myyräkuume in Finnish - or "Vole fever", has been detected in Southern Finland.
The current autumn is predicted to become a similar peak period for mole fever to that in 2005, when a total of 2,500 Finns were infected by this virus. At present nearly 1,600 infections have been reported.
The disease tends to fluctuate with the number of moles, and infections have been noticed steadily. The occurrence of mole fever cases is expected to continue until November-December.
Some 70 to 80 cases a week are reported to the Infectious Diseases Register maintained by the National Public Health Institute.
The majority of infections are caught from sheds or other similar outdoor places, where moles are typically found.
The virus can be contracted by humans from dust to which the virus has spread from the droppings of moles.
Mole fever has a sudden onset with fever, headache, backpain, and renal symptoms, but no respiratory symptoms. At first patients’ urine volume declines, but it will increase again once recovery gets started.
Only a minor part of infections lead to a diagnosis, as the majority of the infected individuals develop only mild symptoms and the disease gets better by itself. There is apparently no human-to-human transfer of the virus.
Usually an individual will have mole fever only once and then be immune to any further outbreaks.
The name Puumala virus derives from the small municipality of the same name in South Savo where the virus was first isolated and named in 1980.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Rodent visitor from the north (4.9.2007)
Nephropathia epidemica (Wikipedia)
National Public Health Institute