Serological Evidence of Hantaan Virus Infection in the United States

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  • 1 Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • | 2 Department of Tropical Medicine and Medical Microbiology, University of Hawaii, School of Medicine, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • | 3 Vector-Borne Viral Diseases Division, Centers for Disease Control, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • | 4 State Laboratory of Public Health, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • | 5 Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
  • | 6 Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado
  • | 7 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
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We found low titers of fluorescent antibodies against Hantaan virus, the etiologic agent of Korean hemorrhagic fever, in sera from 7 of 1,035 patients with febrile illnesses of unknown origin and from 6 of 664 blood donors in the United States. All but 1 of these individuals possessed neutralizing antibodies against Hantaan virus. This was a 31-year-old research technician who had worked with laboratory rodents with virus-induced tumors, but had not traveled abroad, suggesting that infection with Hantaan virus or a closely related agent was locally acquired. However, the precise source of his infection remains unclear.