Hantaviruses: Potential hazard as a result of global warming? – Remarks.
The reports of clinically registered human hantavirus infections in Germany were between 106 and 172 cases per year from 2001 to 2003. Since 2005 the numbers of reported cases have been fluctuating but nevertheless were significantly increasing; the highest value was registered in 2012 with 2370 cases. An increase of human infections has also been observed in other European countries.
The occurrence of hantaviruses is closely associated with small mammals (including mice, rats and shrews). Most cases in Germany are caused by the Puumala Orthohantavirus (PUUV), which is transmitted by bank voles (Myodes glareolus). The investigations in forest areas revealed a correlation between the number of infections and the increase in mouse populations.
This can e.g. be connected with strong beech masts. The following areas have been identified as endemic areas for PUUV infections: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse.