Centre National de Reference pour les Fievres Hemorragiques Virales, Institut Pasteur, Special Pathogens Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Service de Medecine Interne, Hopital d'Instruction des Armees Desgenettes, Institut Merieux, Paris, France
Puumala (PUU) virus (Bunyaviridae: Hantavirus), the etiologic agent of nephropathia epidemica (NE), the mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, is enzootic in Europe and has been known to occur in France since 1983. We report the first isolation of PUU virus in France and western Europe from a case of NE acquired in France. The virus was isolated from a serum collected in the acute phase of the clinical course by successive blind passages in Vero E6 cells. Serologic typing using monoclonal antibodies confirmed the identity of the virus as PUU. The sequence of an 832-nucleotide fragment of the virus medium RNA segment obtained by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) also classified it as a PUU virus. The sequence of this isolate from a human case in France is closely related to the sequence of a PUU virus obtained by the PCR from a German patient.