Objective: The purpose of this report is to bring to the attention of obstetric care providers the occurrence in pregnancy of a threatening pulmonary syndrome caused by hantavirus infection.
Study design: Two recent cases of hantavirus pneumonitis in pregnancy, one complicated by adult respiratory distress syndrome, are presented. The clinical characteristics and epidemiology of the illness, which has now been reported in 12 western states, are detailed.
Results: Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is characterized by pneumonitis, often progressing to adult respiratory distress syndrome, which is accompanied by thrombocytopenia, lactacidemia, and leukocytosis with a marked left shift. Severe hypoxemia and lactacidemia were associated with a poor perinatal outcome.
Conclusion: The hantavirus pulmonary syndrome occurring during pregnancy may be life-threatening and may result in fetal hypoxemic damage.