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Hantavirus infections are widely distributed in Europe with the exception of the far north and the Mediterranean regions. The underlying causes of varying epidemiological patterns differ among regions: in western and central Europe epidemics of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) caused by hantavirus infections follow mast years with increased seed production by oak and beech trees followed by increased rodent reproduction. In the northern regions, hantavirus infections and HFRS epidemics occur in three to four year cycles and are thought to be driven by prey - predator interactions. Hantavirus infections and HFRS seem to be on the increase in Europe, partly because of better diagnostics, partly perhaps due to environmental changes. Unfortunately, hantavirus infections are still heavily under-diagnosed in many European countries. Here we report the results of a survey conducted in 2007 amongst the member laboratories of the European Network for diagnostics of Imported Viral Diseases (ENIVD).


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