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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 1999;32(3): 269-275.
Laboratory-Acquired Infections with Hantavirus at a Research Unit of Medical School in Seoul, 1996.
Soo Hun Cho, Young Su Ju, Daehee Kang, Suhnggwon Kim, Ik Sang Kim, Sung Tae Hong
1Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.
2Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.
3Department of Microbiology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.
4Department of Parasitology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.
BACKGROUND: In April 6, 1996, a male researcher who has worked at a research unit at the Basic Research Building of Seoul National University(SNU) College of Medicine admitted to SNU Hospital due to persistent fever. He was diagnosed serologically as hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome(HFRS). Another female researcher in the same unit was also diagnosed as HFRS at the same hospital several days later. Epidemic investigation of HFRS was conducted to determine the magnitude of the problems since these two cases were strongly suspected to have laboratory-acquired infections of HFRS. METHODS: All researchers and employees working at the Basic Research Building(BRB) of SNU College of Medicine as of April 1, 1996 were recruited for the study. Information on symptoms of HFRS and history of contact to experimental animals were collected by self-administered questionnaires and serological tests among study subjects were also conducted by indirect immunofluorescent antibody(IFA) to hantavirus. The experimental animals were also serologically tested for infection with hantavirus by IFA. RESULTS: Among 218 surveyed, six researchers and an animal caretaker had hantavirus antibodies above 1:20 in IFA titer. Five of seven sero-positive subjects had antibodies above 1:640 in IFA titer and had shown clinical symptoms compatible to HFRS during Jan. 1 to Apr. 20, 1996. The sero-positive persons had handled animals more frequently than sero-negative persons (OR, 19.68; 95% CI, 1.11 - 350.40) and handling animals at the animal quarter at School of Public Health(SPH) had shown consistently higher risk to get infected with hantavirus irrespective of types of animals handled (OR, 4.90 - 6.37). Sero-positivity of rats of the aniamal quarter at BRB was 30-60%, whereas 80% of rats at SPH tested were shown sero-positivity. CONCLUSION: There was a epidemic of HFRS in research units of a medical school during the period from Jan. through Apr. Further investigation is needed to determine the extent and the mode of transmission of the laboratory-acquired infection with hantavirus in other research facilities.
Key words: Hemorrhagic fever; Laboratory animal; Hantavirus; HFRS
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