A comparative epidemiological study of hantavirus infection in Japan and Far East Russia.Jpn J Vet Res. 2007 Feb; 54(4):145-61.JJ
Hantaviruses are causative agents of some severe human illnesses, including hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). The viruses are maintained by rodent hosts, and humans acquire infection by inhaling virus-contaminated excreta from infected animals. To examine the epidemiology of hantavirus infections in Japan and Far East Russia, we conducted epidemiological surveys in these regions. In Japan, anti-hantavirus antibodies were found in four rodent species, Clethrionomys rufocanus, Rattus norvegicus, R. rattus, and Apodemus speciosus. Although no new HFRS cases have been officially reported over the past 20 years in Japan, one member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force did test positive for hantavirus antibody. Repeated surveys in Far East Russia have revealed that two distinct hantavirus types cause severe HFRS in this region. Hantavirus sequences identified from A. peninsulae, fetal HFRS cases in Vladivostok, and Amur virus are highly similar to each other (> 92% identity), but they are less similar (approximately 84% identity) to the prototypical Hantaan virus, which is carried by A. agrarius. Phylogenetic analysis also indicates that Amur and A. peninsulae-associated viruses are distinct from Hantaan virus, suggesting that A. peninsulae is the reservoir animal for Amur virus, which causes severe HFRS. From HFRS patients in the Khabarovsk region, we identified viruses with nucleotide sequences that are more similar to Far East virus (> 96%identity) than to the Hantaan (88-89% identity) or Amur (81-83% identity) viruses. Phylogenetic analysis also indicates that the viruses from Khabarovsk HFRS patients are closely related to the Far East virus, and distinct from Amur virus.