Hantavirus and arenavirus antibody prevalence in rodents and humans in Trentino, Northern Italy.

Research paper by H H Kallio-Kokko, J J Laakkonen, A A Rizzoli, V V Tagliapietra, I I Cattadori, S E SE Perkins, P J PJ Hudson, A A Cristofolini, W W Versini, O O Vapalahti, A A Vaheri, H H Henttonen

Indexed on: 24 Dec '05Published on: 24 Dec '05Published in: Epidemiology and infection


The spatial and temporal distribution of hantavirus and arenavirus antibody-positive wild rodents in Trentino, Italy, was studied using immunofluorescence assays (IFA) in two long-term sites trapped in 2000-2003, and six other sites trapped in 2002. The overall hantavirus seroprevalence in the bank voles, Clethrionomys glareolus (n=229) screened for Puumala virus (PUUV) antibodies was 0.4%, and that for Apodemus flavicollis mice (n=1416) screened for Dobrava virus (DOBV) antibodies was 0.2%. Antibodies against lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) were found in 82 (5.6%) of the 1472 tested rodents; the seroprevalence being 6.1% in A. flavicollis (n=1181), 3.3% in C. glareolus (n=276), and 14.3% in Microtus arvalis (n=7). Of the serum samples of 488 forestry workers studied by IFA, 12 were LCMV-IgG positive (2.5%) and one DOBV-IgG positive (0.2%), however, the latter could not be confirmed DOBV-specific with a neutralization assay. Our results show a widespread distribution but low prevalence of DOBV in Trentino, and demonstrate that the arenavirus antibodies are a common finding in several other rodent species besides the house mouse.