Recent increase in prevalence of antibodies to Dobrava-Belgrade virus (DOBV) in yellow-necked mice in Northern Italy.

Research paper by A A Rizzoli, V V Tagliapietra, R R Rosà, H C HC Hauffe, G G Marini, L L Voutilainen, T T Sironen, C C Rossi, D D Arnoldi, H H Henttonen

Indexed on: 09 Jun '15Published on: 09 Jun '15Published in: Epidemiology and infection


Dobrava-Belgrade virus (DOBV) is the most pathogenic hantavirus in Europe with a case-fatality rate of up to 12%. To detect changes in risk for humans, the prevalence of antibodies to DOBV has been monitored in a population of Apodemus flavicollis in the province of Trento (northern Italy) since 2000, and a sudden increase was observed in 2010. In the 13-year period of this study, 2077 animals were live-trapped and mean hantavirus seroprevalence was 2·7% (s.e. = 0·3%), ranging from 0% (in 2000, 2002 and 2003) to 12·5% (in 2012). Climatic (temperature and precipitation) and host (rodent population density, rodent weight and sex, and larval tick burden) variables were analysed using Generalized Linear Models and multi-model inference to select the best model. Climatic changes (mean annual precipitation and maximum temperature) and individual body mass had a positive effect on hantavirus seroprevalence. Other possible drivers affecting the observed pattern need to be studied further.

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