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J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Sep;45(9):3008-14. Epub 2007 Jul 11.

Hantavirus disease outbreak in Germany: limitations of routine serological diagnostics and clustering of virus sequences of human and rodent origin.

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  • 1Department of Virology, Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany.


In Europe, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome results mainly from infection with Puumala virus (PUUV) or Dobrava virus. For 31 patients from a hantavirus disease outbreak in Lower Bavaria, a district in southeast Germany, serodiagnosis was undertaken by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunofluorescence assay, and immunoblot analysis. In a few of these cases, however, PUUV-specific typing of antibodies by these standard assays failed and a virus neutralization assay under biosafety level 3 conditions was required to verify the infection by this virus type. PUUV RNA was amplified by reverse transcription-PCR from acute-phase sera of three patients and was found to be very closely related to virus sequences obtained from bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) trapped in the same area. These findings link the outbreak with a novel PUUV lineage, "Bavaria," circulating in the local rodent population. The Bavaria lineage associated with the outbreak is only distantly related to other PUUV lineages from Germany.

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