Detection and genetic characterization of Seoul Virus from commensal brown rats in France.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Hantaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses, which are transmitted to humans primarily via inhalation of aerosolised virus in contaminated rodent urine and faeces. Whilst infected reservoir hosts are asymptomatic, human infections can lead to two clinical manifestations, haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), with varying degrees of clinical severity. The incidence of rodent and human cases of Seoul virus (SEOV) in Europe has been considered to be low, and speculated to be driven by the sporadic introduction of infected brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) via ports. METHODS: Between October 2010 and March 2012, 128 brown rats were caught at sites across the Lyon region in France. RESULTS: SEOV RNA was detected in the lungs of 14% (95% CI 8.01 - 20.11) of brown rats tested using a nested pan-hantavirus RT-PCR (polymerase gene). Phylogenetic analysis supports the inclusion of the Lyon SEOV within Lineage 7 with SEOV strains originating from SE Asia and the previously reported French & Belgian SEOV strains. Sequence data obtained from the recent human SEOV case (Replonges) was most similar to that obtained from one brown rat trapped in a public park in Lyon city centre. We obtained significantly improved recovery of virus genome sequence directly from SEOV infected lung material using a simple viral enrichment approach and NGS technology. CONCLUSIONS: The detection of SEOV in two wild caught brown rats in the UK and the multiple detection of SEOV infected brown rats in the Lyon region of France, suggests that SEOV is circulating in European brown rats. Under-reporting and difficulties in identifying the hantaviruses associated with HFRS may mask the public health impact of SEOV in Europe.
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Virology Journal, BioMed Central, 2014, 11 (1), pp.32. 〈10.1186/1743-422X-11-32〉
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Tatiana Dupinay, Kieran Pounder, Florence Ayral, Maria-Halima Laaberki, Denise Marston, et al.. Detection and genetic characterization of Seoul Virus from commensal brown rats in France.. Virology Journal, BioMed Central, 2014, 11 (1), pp.32. 〈10.1186/1743-422X-11-32〉. 〈inserm-00956363〉

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