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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2004 Oct;99(6):575-6. Epub 2004 Nov 18.

Study of hantavirus infection in captive breed colonies of wild rodents.

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Laboratório de Hantaviroses e Rickettsioses, Departamento de Virologia, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Av. Brasil 4365, 21045-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


Wild sigmondontine rodents are known to be the reservoir of several serotypes of New World hantaviruses. The mechanism of viral transmission is by aerosol inhalation of the excreta from infected rodents. Considering that the captive breed colonies of various wild mammals may present a potential risk for hantaviral transmission, we examined 85 specimens of Thrichomys spp. (Echimyidae) and 17 speciemens of Nectomys squamipes (Sigmodontinae) from our colony for the presence of hantavirus infections. Blood samples were assayed for the presence of antibodies to Andes nucleocapsid antigen using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Additionally, serum samples from workers previously exposed to wild rodents, in the laboratories where the study was conducted, were also tested by ELISA to investigate prevalence of anti-hantavirus IgG antibodies. All blood samples were negative for hantavirus antibodies. Although these results suggest that those rodent's colonies are hantavirus free, the work emphasizes the need for hantavirus serological monitoring in wild colonized rodents and secure handling potentially infected rodents as important biosafety measures.

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