Ljungan virus is endemic in rodents in the UK
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Ljungan virus is a recently identified member of the family Picornaviridae that was isolated from bank voles in Sweden. It has been shown to cause type 1 diabetes-like symptoms and myocarditis in bank voles (Myodes glareolus), and it has been suggested that it has zoonotic potential. Here, we show for the first time that Ljungan virus is prevalent (20–27 % positive by PCR) in four species of UK rodent (Myodes glareolus [bank vole], Apodemus sylvaticus [wood mouse], Microtus agrestis [field vole] and Mus musculus [house mouse]). Sequence analysis showed that Ljungan virus of genotypes 1 and 2 were present, although genotype 1 was more prevalent and more frequently associated with brain tissue. This study highlights the prevalence of Ljungan virus in the UK and the need for confirmation of its zoonotic potential.
KeywordsBank Vole Wood Mouse Field Vole Zoonotic Potential Apodemus Sylvaticus
This work was funded by a National Environment Research Council grant (NE/E008038/1) to MB and JPS.
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