Seoul virus, an Old World hantavirus, is maintained in brown rats and causes a mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in humans. We captured rodents in New Orleans, Louisiana and tested them for the presence of Old World hantaviruses by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with sequencing, cell culture, and electron microscopy; 6 (3.4%) of 178 rodents captured - all brown rats - were positive for a Seoul virus variant previously coined Tchoupitoulas virus, which was noted in rodents in New Orleans in the 1980s. The finding of Tchoupitoulas virus in New Orleans over 25 years since its first discovery suggests stable endemicity in the city. Although the degree to which this virus causes human infection and disease remains unknown, repeated demonstration of Seoul virus in rodent populations, recent cases of laboratory-confirmed HFRS in some US cities, and a possible link with hypertensive renal disease warrant additional investigation in both rodents and humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases