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Serological survey in the Finnish human population implies human-to-human transmission of Ljungan virus or antigenically related viruses

  • A. J. JÄÄSKELÄINEN (a1), L. VOUTILAINEN (a1) (a2), R. LEHMUSTO (a1), H. HENTTONEN (a2), M. LAPPALAINEN (a1), H. KALLIO-KOKKO (a1), A. VAHERI (a1) and O. VAPALAHTI (a1) (a3)...

Summary

Ljungan virus (LV) is a picornavirus related to human parechoviruses (HPeV). The virus has been found in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and several other rodent species, and suggested to have zoonotic potential. Thus far, seroepidemiological data on LV infections in humans are scarce. In this study, we aimed to characterize the demographic and geographical distribution of LV-reactive antibodies in Finland, and to investigate its occurrence in patients suspected of having a rodent-borne disease, nephropathia epidemica (NE) caused by Puumala hantavirus (PUUV). Using an immunofluorescence assay (LV strain 145SLG), we screened human sera (n = 1378) and found LV-reactive antibodies in 36% of samples. The probability of possessing LV-reactive antibodies peaked at age of 14 years, suggesting that most infections occur in childhood. The prevalence of LV-reactive antibodies was significantly higher in the urbanized area surrounding Helsinki than in more rural Central Finland. These findings are uncharacteristic of a rodent-borne pathogen, and therefore we consider human-to-human transmission of one or several Ljungan-like viruses as a likely cause for most of the observed antibody responses.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr A. J. Jääskeläinen, University of Helsinki, Department of Virology, PO Box 21 (Haartmaninkatu 3), FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. (Email: anne.jaaskelainen@helsinki.fi)

References

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Keywords

Serological survey in the Finnish human population implies human-to-human transmission of Ljungan virus or antigenically related viruses

  • A. J. JÄÄSKELÄINEN (a1), L. VOUTILAINEN (a1) (a2), R. LEHMUSTO (a1), H. HENTTONEN (a2), M. LAPPALAINEN (a1), H. KALLIO-KOKKO (a1), A. VAHERI (a1) and O. VAPALAHTI (a1) (a3)...

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