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Keywords:

  • viral hemorrhagic fever;
  • hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome;
  • hantaviruses;
  • rodent reservoir;
  • transmission;
  • cell-mediated pathogenesis;
  • immunopathogenesis

Summary: Hantaviruses are predominantly rodent-borne pathogens, although recently novel shrew-associated hantaviruses were found. Within natural reservoir hosts, hantairuses do not cause obvious pathogenetic effects; transmission to humans, however, can lead to hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome or hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome, depending on the virus species involved. This review is focussed on the recent knowledge on hantavirus-induced immune responses in rodent reservoirs and humans and their impact on susceptibility, transmission, and outcome of hantavirus infections. In addition, this review incorporates a discussion on the potential role of direct cell-virus interactions in the pathogenesis of hantavirus infections in humans. Finally, questions for further research efforts on the immune responses in potential hantavirus reservoir hosts and humans are summarized.