A Potentially lethal virus that has the ability to jump from rodents to humans and can trigger Ebola-like bleeding is spreading across northern Europe.

Researchers have discovered that rodents in Sweden are carrying a pathogen that can jump to humans and turn into haemorrhagic fever.

Cases of the illness are being spotted hundreds of miles from where health officials typically see this virus, causing concern among scientists.


It all started in 2018 when doctors in Sweden’s southern Scania County diagnosed a case of a nephropathy epidemic caused by the Puumala virus carried by bank voles.

Nephropathia epidemic is also referred to as ‘vole fever’ and is a rare illness that has the potential to cause hemorrhagic fever in people.

Hemorrhagic fevers are a group of diseases caused by different viruses that can be severe and life-threatening – they include yellow fever, the Ebola virus, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

Doctors were baffled to spot a case of vole fever so far south in the country, more than 500 km south from where the disease had previously been spotted.

Another case was spotted in 2020, also in the Scania County of Sweden.

In both cases, the patients hadn’t traveled and were infected in their home area.

Their symptoms were typical of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) symptoms, including fever, general malaise, nosebleeds, and poor kidney function.

Both patients recovered from their infections, but it prompted scientists from Uppsala University to look into why vole fever infections where popping up so far from where they usually do.

They conducted genetic testing of bank voles in Scania county, catching them in the vicinity of the patients’ homes and analysing them for any occurrence of hantavirus.


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