Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Ecke, F., M. Magnusson, B. A. Han, and M. Evander. 2022. Orthohantaviruses in the Arctic: Present and Future. Arctic One Health: 393–414.

Orthohantaviruses, family Hantaviridae , are globally distributed except for Antarctica where they are absent. In animals, orthohantaviruses are transmitted horizontally, either directly through aggressive interactions and grooming or by inhaling infectious particles shed from urine, feces, or saliva in the environment. Humans become infected by inhaling aerosols of the virus-contaminated excretions of small mammals. Orthohantaviral infections in humans cause severe hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the North American Artic and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in the Eurasian Arctic. In the Arctic, 16 rodent species (order Rodentia) and five shrew species (order Eulipotyphla) have been identified as reservoirs of orthohantaviruses by RNA detection. The two most important reservoir rodents in the Arctic are the bank vole ( Myodes glareolus ) in Eurasia carrying Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) and North American deermouse ( Peromyscus maniculatus ) in the North American Arctic carrying Sin Nombre orthohantavirus (SNV); both rodents being habitat generalists occurring in natural and human-modified habitats. Global warming, either independently or in combination with onshore exploitation of natural resources, is expected to increase the distribution range of reservoirs (including bank vole and North American deermouse, rats ( Rattus rattus and R. norvegicus ), house mouse ( Mus musculus ) and field mice ( Apodemus spp.)), and their associated orthohantaviruses. These changes pose the risk of introducing New World orthohantaviruses (e.g., Jemez Springs virus (JMSV) and SNV) to areas where so far only Old World orthohantaviruses (e.g., Hantaan orthohantavirus (HTNV) and PUUV) occur and vice versa. Climate change in the Arctic will likely also promote transmission and prevalence of orthohantaviruses in their reservoirs and hence increase zoonotic risk. The expected environmental changes call for increased surveillance and preparedness to mitigate potential outbreaks of orthohantavirus diseases in humans.