Evidence of hantavirus in wild rodents in Northern Ireland

Conall McCaughey, Ian Montgomery, N. Twomey, M. Addley, H.J. ONeill, Peter Coyle

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175 Citations (Scopus)


A survey of evidence of rodent hantavirus infection in County Down, Northern Ireland was carried out by using immunofluorescence to detect virus antigen and antibody. Antibodies to hantavirus (R22 strain of Seoul virus and Hantaan 76-118) were found in 11/51 (21.6%) brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), 1/31 (3.2%) field mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) and 17/59 (28.8%) house mice (Mus domesticus). Seven rodents had evidence of hantavirus antigen in lung tissues. Antibody positive animals were significantly more likely to be adults than juveniles (P = 0.04) but and there was no sex difference between antibody positive and negative animals. House mice were more likely to be antibody positive if captured inside farm outbuildings (P = 0.08). Attempts to culture virus from the rodent material were unsuccessful. This work demonstrates a substantial rodent reservoir for hantavirus in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-365
Number of pages5
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996


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