No gender-related differences in the severity of nephropathia epidemica, Germany
- Equal contributors
1 Department of Nephrology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 162, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Department of Virology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:457 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-457Published: 3 October 2013
The number of cases of hantavirus disease caused by Puumala virus is increasing enormously in Germany within the last years. Men are overrepresented in hantavirus disease and differences in course and symptoms in relation to gender were reported from several countries. This study was conducted to define possible gender-specific risk factors and aspects of severity in hantavirus infections occurring in Germany.
Characteristics, clinical parameters and symptoms were recorded in a retrospective analysis of 108 patients with serologically confirmed hantavirus infection treated in our department. This cohort corresponds in regard to age, time of infection and gender ratio to the characteristics of the overall cases reported in Germany.
The frequency of characteristic symptoms of hantavirus disease did not differ between males and females. The median of nadir and peak levels of clinical parameters did not exhibit relevant differences that would point to a more severe course in males or females. The clinical course and duration of hospitalization were similar for both sexes. No relevant differences in renal and pulmonary findings were observed. Males with hantavirus disease exhibited more cardiac findings than females.
To compare the unequal gender distribution of the rodent-borne Puumala hantavirus disease with the gender ratio of other infectious diseases, we analyzed the gender ratio for notifiable infections according to their mode of transmission. Our data revealed a general overrepresentation of men in infections carried by arthropods and rodents.
In contrast to reports from other countries, no crucial differences in the symptoms, course or severity of hantavirus disease between infected men and female were observed in our cohort. However behavioural differences may account for the fact that men are more often affected by certain infectious diseases than females.