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Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Burke A Cunha, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
 
Updated: Oct 27, 2015
 
 

Diagnostic ConsiderationsDrug-induced noncardiac pulmonary edemaAcute respiratory distress syndromePneumonic plagueAtypical community-acquired pneumoniasViral influenza

An appropriate ingestion history of medications that are associated with noncardiac pulmonary edema may differentiate drug-induced noncardiac pulmonary edema from Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).

Patients with cardiac pulmonary edema usually have a left ventricular S3 gallop rhythm and often have cardiomegaly upon physical examination, which is not the case with HPS.

In contrast to HPS, the distribution of the infiltrates associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) observed on chest radiographs is peripheral rather than central. In addition, pleural effusions are common in HPS but are not a feature of ARDS.

HPS is accompanied by perihilar cuffing, earlier appearance of interstitial edema (Kerley B lines), and pericardiac haziness (fuzzy heart sign), which are characteristic of HPS and are not found with ARDS.

Patients with pneumonic plague are critically ill with hemoptysis, which is not a feature of HPS. Pneumonic plague occurs in the setting of an outbreak of antecedent bubonic plague. Patients with HPS are less ill and have no adenopathy suggesting preceding or concomitant pneumonic plague.

Among the nonzoonotic atypical pneumonias, Legionnaires disease may resemble HPS. Levels of serum transaminases may be mildly elevated in patients with Legionnaires disease and in those with HPS. Relative bradycardia uniformly accompanies Legionnaires disease but not HPS. Gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly diarrhea, may be observed in both. Severe renal insufficiency is uncommon in HPS and is unusual in Legionnaires disease. Cardiopulmonary collapse frequently occurs in HPS and seldom complicates Legionnaires disease, except in the terminal stages.

Tularemia and Q fever are zoonotic atypical pneumonias that are in the differential diagnoses of HPS. However, the vectors are different for these zoonotic infections. Contact with sheep or parturient cats is the usual epidemiological antecedent for Q fever pneumonia. Similarly, contact with deer, rabbits, or deer flies is the usual history suggesting tularemia. Symptoms common to Q fever, tularemia, and HPS are headache and myalgias. Q fever may feature splenomegaly and relative bradycardia, which are findings not observed in HPS. Bilateral hilar adenopathy and bloody pleural effusion characterize tularemic pneumonia and are not associated with HPS.

Influenza begins abruptly, with patients often recalling the exact minute and/or hour they became acutely ill. A dry nonproductive cough and a sore throat, usually accompanied by rhinorrhea, characterize influenza. These are not features of HPS. Headache and myalgias are common in both infections.

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Burke A Cunha, MD Professor of Medicine, State University of New York School of Medicine at Stony Brook; Chief, Infectious Disease Division, Winthrop-University Hospital

Burke A Cunha, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

John L Brusch, MD, FACP Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Consulting Staff, Department of Medicine and Infectious Disease Service, Cambridge Health Alliance

John L Brusch, MD, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD David Ross Boyd Professor and Chairman, Department of Medicine, Stewart G Wolf Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center; Master of the American College of Physicians; Fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Medical Association, Oklahoma State Medical Association, Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of Professors of Medicine, American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Kenneth C Earhart, MD Deputy Head, Disease Surveillance Program, United States Naval Medical Research Unit #3

Kenneth C Earhart, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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