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Virus Res. 2008 Feb;131(2):180-8. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Genetic characterization and phylogeny of a hantavirus from Western Mexico.

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Emerging Infectious Disease Research Program, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Southern Research Institute, 2000 Ninth Avenue S., Birmingham, AL 35255-5305, USA.


Hantaviruses can cause two serious illnesses when transmitted from their rodent reservoirs to humans; hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the New World and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in the Old World. Cases of HPS were first recognized in the Americas in small, focal outbreaks in rural populations in the Southwestern USA in 1993. Since that time, outbreaks as well as sporadic cases of HPS have been recognized throughout the Americas. Remarkably, HPS cases have not been reported in Mexico. Mexico is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and this is reflected in the species diversity of the peromyscine, sigmodontine and oryzomyine rodents; all potential hosts of hantaviruses. Hence, we collected and surveyed several rodent species in Western Mexico and identified three previously unrecognized rodents with antibodies to hantaviral antigens: Oryzomys couesi, Sigmodon mascotensis and Baiomys musculus. The S and M segments cloned from O. couesi and S. mascotensis, referred to herein as Playa de Oro (ORO) virus, showed strongest similarity to Bayou and Catacamas viruses with 92/93% and 92/92% similarity based on S/M amino acid sequences, respectively. This and phylogenetic analysis of the M and S segments suggests that ORO virus is a unique genotype within Hantavirus.

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