Scand J Infect Dis 2012 Dec 25;44(12):956-62. Epub 2012 Jul 25.
Department of Ophthalmology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Background: Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) causes nephropathia epidemica (NE), a type of viral haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). This febrile infection may affect the kidneys, central nervous system (CNS), and the eye. Acute illness is associated with increased tissue permeability and tissue oedema, and many patients experience reduced vision. The aim of this study was to explore the physiological events associated with the ocular features of acute NE.
Methods: This was a prospective study of 46 NE patients who were examined during the acute infection and 1 month after hospitalization. Visual acuity, refraction, intraocular pressure (IOP), and ocular dimensions were evaluated. Cerebrospinal fluid and blood samples were collected, brain magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography were recorded, and HLA haplotype was analyzed. The degrees of tissue oedema and fluid imbalance were evaluated.
Results: CNS examinations did not reveal the source of the ocular changes in acute NE. The plasma C-reactive protein concentration correlated with the lens thickness and the IOP. The plasma creatinine level was associated with the change in anterior chamber depth. However, oliguric and polyuric patients displayed similar ocular findings. Patients positive for the DR3-DQ2 haplotype experienced the least diminished visual acuity.
Conclusions: The level of systemic inflammation rather than CNS involvement appears to account for the ocular changes during acute PUUV infection, and the severity of kidney dysfunction may also have a significant role. In addition, the genetic properties of the host may well explain the ocular features of acute hantavirus infection.