The role of mites in the transmission and maintenance of Hantaan virus (Hantavirus: Bunyaviridae)

Xue Jie Yu, Robert B. Tesh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This review examines the evidence indicating a role for parasitic mites in the transmission and maintenance of Hantaan virus in nature. The available data, much of it from recent studies in China, indicate that both trom-biculid and gamasid mites are naturally infected with Hantaan virus and that infected mites can transmit the virus by bite to laboratory mice and transovarially (vertically) through eggs to their offspring. Collectively, these findings challenge the current paradigm of hantavirus transmission, namely, that rodents serve as the reservoir of human pathogenic hantaviruses in nature and that humans are infected with these viruses by inhalation of aerosols of infectious rodent excreta. Further research is needed to confirm the mite-hantavirus association and to determine if parasitic mites are in fact the major source and principal vectors of human pathogenic hanta-viruses, such as Hantaan. If the mite hypothesis is correct, then it will significantly alter current concepts about the epidemiology, prevention, and control of human hantavirus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1693-1699
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbovirus infection
  • Hantaan virus
  • Hantavirus infection
  • Hantavirus transmission
  • Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
  • Mite-borne disease
  • Vector biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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