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Virus Res. 2007 Feb;123(2):204-10. Epub 2006 Sep 25.

Puumala hantavirus in Slovenia: analyses of S and M segment sequences recovered from patients and rodents.

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Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical Faculty of Ljubljana, Zaloska 4, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.


In Slovenia, the co-existence of Dobrava and Puumala (PUUV) hantaviruses in a single endemic region has been demonstrated. This study presents selected Slovenian HFRS cases caused by PUUV combined with genetic analysis of viral genome sequences recovered from clinical specimens and tissue samples of Clethrionomys glareolus (bank voles). Serum samples from nine HFRS patients were included in the study. Rodents study sites were selected with regard to the HFRS cases. Partial S segment sequences were recovered from all nine patients and partial M segment sequences could be recovered from seven. Partial S and M segments sequences were also recovered from five C. glareouls captured at three different study sites. The sequences from Slovenian clinical specimens and rodent tissue samples belonged to the PUUV genotype and formed a distinct genetic lineage of PUUV. Human and rodent PUUV sequences located in the closest proximity to each other on the phylogenetic trees suggest genetic links between the human cases and the hantaviral strains circulating in natural foci of this zoonotic infection. Analysis of the complete S segment sequences recovered for two wild-type PUUV strains confirmed the existence of a distinct genetic lineage and also indicated a possible quasispecies type of Slovenian PUUV.

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