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Virus Res. 2014 Jul 17;187:15-21. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2013.12.035. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

Discovery of hantaviruses in bats and insectivores and the evolution of the genus Hantavirus.

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State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China. Electronic address:


Hantaviruses are among the most important zoonotic pathogens of humans, causing either hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). From the period 1964-2006 almost all hantaviruses had been identified in rodents, with the exception of Thottapalayam virus (TPMV) isolated from shrews sampled in India. As a consequence, rodents were considered as the natural reservoir hosts. However, over the past seven years, most of the newly found hantavirus genotypes have been from either shrews or moles. Remarkably, in recent years divergent hantaviruses have also been identified in bats sampled from both Africa and Asia. All these data indicate that hantaviruses have a broad range of natural reservoir hosts. Phylogenetic analyses of the available sequences of hantaviruses suggest that hantaviruses might have first appeared in Chiroptera (bats) or Soricomorpha (moles and shrews), before emerging in rodent species. Although rodent hantaviruses cluster according to whether their hosts are members of the Murinae and Cricetidae, the phylogenetic histories of the viruses are not always congruent with those of their hosts, indicating that cross-species transmission events have occurred at all taxonomic levels. In sum, both cross-species transmission and co-divergence have produced the high genetic diversity of hantaviruses described to date.


Bat; Co-divergence; Cross-species transmission; Evolution; Hantavirus; Insectivore

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