Volume 56, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Puumala virus, the causative agent of nephropathia epidemica (NE), occurs endemically in Europe and is spread mainly by the bank vole (). In the vicinity of each of four households afflicted with NE, we studied rodents with regard to population density and prevalence of Puumala virus-specific antibodies. For each case area, a control area was randomly selected 10 km away, without regard to the presence of human settlement. During 6,000 trap nights, 328 rodents were caught, of which 299 were . The mean rodent densities of case and control areas were 6.6 and 3.7 animals per 100 trap nights ( < 0.001). The prevalence of serum antibodies was 15.9% in case areas compared with 5.6% in control areas ( < 0.05). In three of the case areas, where NE had occurred 3–10 weeks before trapping, the rodent density and seroprevalence were much higher than in the fourth area, where NE occurred 38 weeks before trapping. In conclusion, seropositive for Puumala virus occurred more frequently near households afflicted with NE than in control areas 10 km away.


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