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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Expansion of spatial and host range of Puumala virus in Sweden: an increasing threat for humans?

Borg, O.; Wille, M.; Kjellander, P.; Bergvall, U. A.; Lindgren, P. -E.; Chirico, J.; Lundkvist, A.


Hantaviruses are globally distributed and cause severe human disease. Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is the most common species in Northern Europe, and the only hantavirus confirmed to circulate in Sweden, restricted to the northern regions of the country. In this study, we aimed to further add to the natural ecology of PUUV in Sweden by investigating prevalence, and spatial and host species infection patterns. Specifically, we wanted to ascertain whether PUUV was present in the natural reservoir, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) further south than Dalalven river, in south-central Sweden, and whether PUUV can be detected in other rodent species in addition to the natural reservoir. In total, 559 animals were collected at Grimso (59 degrees 43 ' N; 15 degrees 28 ' E), Sala (59 degrees 55 ' N; 16 degrees 36 ' E) and Bogesund (59 degrees 24 ' N; 18 degrees 14 ' E) in south-central Sweden between May 2013 and November 2014. PUUV ELISA-reactive antibodies were found both in 2013 (22/295) and in 2014 (18/264), and nine samples were confirmed as PUUV-specific by focus reduction neutralization test. Most of the PUUV-specific samples were from the natural host, the bank vole, but also from other rodent hosts, indicating viral spill-over. Finally, we showed that PUUV is present in more highly populated central Sweden.


Bank vole; Bunyaviridae; disease emergence; hantavirus; Myodes glareolus; Puumala virus; Sweden; zoonosis

Published in

Epidemiology and Infection
2017, Volume: 145, number: 8, pages: 1642-1648

    SLU Authors

    • UKÄ Subject classification

      Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

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