Puumala and Dobrava viruses cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Bosnia-Herzegovina: evidence of highly cross-neutralizing antibody responses in early patient sera.J Med Virol 1997; 53(1):51-9JM
Hantavirus infection was diagnosed serologically by mu-capture IgM and IgG ELISAs in hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) patients admitted to Tuzla Hospital, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The results indicated that more than one hantavirus caused the outbreak. To address the question of which hantavirus serotypes were involved, sequentially drawn sera were analyzed by focus reduction neutralization test (FRNT) for antibodies against Puumala, Hantaan, Dobrava, and Seoul hantaviruses. The data revealed that acute- or early convalescent-phase sera, even when drawn as late as 3 weeks after the onset of disease, could not be used for typing of the causative hantavirus; a significant number of these samples showed similar reactivity of neutralizing antibodies to several different hantavirus serotypes. Moreover, although several acute-phase sera showed the highest FRNT titer to Hantaan virus, convalescent sera from these patients in all cases showed high specificity for Puumala or Dobrava viruses. This phenomenon, interpreted as a cross-neutralizing primary antibody response, makes several earlier reports concerning causative agents of HFRS questionable. Serological examination of small rodents trapped in the endemic area identified Puumala- and Dobrava-like virus infections. RT-PCR and sequencing of rodent lung samples identified Dobrava virus in one yellow-necked field mouse (Apodemus flavicollis). Cross-FRNT data, using polyclonal rabbit antibodies, clearly confirmed Dobrava virus as a unique hantavirus serotype. In conclusion, the results revealed that both Puumala- and Dobrava-like viruses caused HFRS in Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereas no signs of Hantaan or Seoul virus involvement were found.