The Association between Seroepidemiology of Hantavirus Disease and Climate Change, Taiwan, 2020

DOI: 10.6525/TEB.202302_39(3).0001

Shu-Fen Chang*, Kai-Jung Yang, Pei-Yun Shu

2023 Vol.39 NO.3

Correspondence Author: Shu-Fen Chang*

  • Center for Research, Diagnostics and Vaccine Development, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan


        Hantavirus syndrome is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by Hantavirus. From 2001 to 2020, a total of 35 cases were reported in Taiwan, of which, 11 cases were hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in 2020. The number of cases was the highest on record. Five cases were identified in Kaohsiung City, three in Pingtung County, two in New Taipei City, and one in Keelung City. Most of the cases were engaged in work related to catering, food wholesale and retail. Serological typing results showed that these 11 cases were all infected with Seoul virus (SEOV). A total of 72 mice were captured near the cases’ work and residence and 1 tested positive for hantavirus antibody of Seoul virus. The rodent serological surveillance at international ports in 2020 showed that among 293 rodents captured, 10 were seropositive for hantavirus, and 9 of them were Rattus norvegicus, which is still the main reservoir host for SEOV in Taiwan. We also analyzed the correlation between the HFRS-confirmed cases and environmental variability in Kaohsiung City. The warm winter in 2019–2020 and the decreased precipitation in 2020 might have an impact on the rodent host-hantavirus system that affected rodent population dynamics and the drought-induced food shortage for rodents, which could enhance host-human interaction and hantaviral transmission events.