Seoul hantavirus in Europe: first demonstration of the virus genome in wild Rattus norvegicus captured in France
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Although rats (Rattus rattus or Rattus norvegicus) worldwide have been found to carry Seoul hantavirus, there are at present only a very few reports of confirmed human Seoul hantavirus infections outside Asia, where the virus, in certain areas, is responsible for approximately 25% of the human hantavirus infections. In Europe, no confirmed human infections outside laboratories have been described, and although rats occasionally have been found to be antibody positive, the viral genome has not been demonstrated in these animals. The present report describes the first confirmed finding of Seoul hantavirus in R. norvegicus captured in Europe.
KeywordsGenetic Lineage Hemorrhagic Fever With Renal Syndrome Lung Tissue Sample Hantavirus Infection Nephropathia Epidemica
This study was made possible by grants STE/R and T WB11 from the Belgian Ministry of Defence, and grants RFA915 and 202012 from the Academy of Finland. The collection of rats was carried out during a preliminary research program on PUUV infection in bank voles (AER 2002), a program supported by the Veterinary School of Lyon in collaboration with Claude Bernard University, Lyon, and the Pasteur Institute, Paris. The experiments described comply with current European Union laws and regulations.
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