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J Med Virol. 2006 Feb;78(2):290-7.

Soochong virus: an antigenically and genetically distinct hantavirus isolated from Apodemus peninsulae in Korea.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Institute for Viral Diseases, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.


Hantaan (HTN) virus, the etiologic agent of clinically severe hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), was first isolated in 1976 from lung tissue of a striped-field mouse (Apodemus agrarius) captured in Songnae-ri, Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea. Found primarily in mountainous areas, the Korean field mouse (A. peninsulae) is the second-most dominant field rodent species found throughout Korea. A new hantavirus, designated Soochong (SOO), was isolated in Vero E6 cells from four A. peninsulae captured in August 1997 at Mt. Gyebang in Hongcheon-gun, Mt. Gachil, Inje-gun, Gangwon Province, and in September 1998 at Mt. Deogyu, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk Province. The entire S, M, and L genomic segments of SOO virus, amplified by RT-PCR from lung tissues of seropositive A. peninsulae and from virus-infected Vero E6 cells, diverged from HTN virus (strain 76-118) by 15.6%, 22.8%, and 21.7% at the nucleotide level and 3.5%, 9.5%, and 4.6% at the amino acid level, respectively. Phylogenetic analyses of the nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences, using the maximum parsimony and neighbor-joining methods, indicated that SOO virus was distinct from A. agrarius-borne HTN virus. SOO virus shared a common ancestry with Amur virus from Far East Russia, as well as with H5 and B78 hantaviruses, previously isolated from HFRS patients in China. Cross-focus-reduction neutralizating antibody tests showed that SOO virus, which is the first hantavirus isolated in cell culture from A. peninsulae, could be classified as a new hantavirus serotype.

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