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Viruses 2014, 6(1), 151-171; doi:10.3390/v6010151

Were the English Sweating Sickness and the Picardy Sweat Caused by Hantaviruses?

Research Laboratory for Vector-Borne Diseases, Queen Astrid Military Hospital, Brussels B-1120, Belgium
Reference Laboratory for Hantavirus infections, Queen Astrid Military Hospital, Brussels B-1120, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 October 2013 / Revised: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hantaviruses)
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The English sweating sickness caused five devastating epidemics between 1485 and 1551, England was hit hardest, but on one occasion also mainland Europe, with mortality rates between 30% and 50%. The Picardy sweat emerged about 150 years after the English sweat disappeared, in 1718, in France. It caused 196 localized outbreaks and apparently in its turn disappeared in 1861. Both diseases have been the subject of numerous attempts to define their origin, but so far all efforts were in vain. Although both diseases occurred in different time frames and were geographically not overlapping, a common denominator could be what we know today as hantavirus infections. This review aims to shed light on the characteristics of both diseases from contemporary as well as current knowledge and suggests hantavirus infection as the most likely cause for the English sweating sickness as well as for the Picardy sweat.
Keywords: English sweating sickness; Picardy sweat; hantavirus English sweating sickness; Picardy sweat; hantavirus
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Heyman, P.; Simons, L.; Cochez, C. Were the English Sweating Sickness and the Picardy Sweat Caused by Hantaviruses? Viruses 2014, 6, 151-171.

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