Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is endemic in East Asia and Europe. The disease is caused by several viruses belonging to the genus Hantavirus, including the Hantaan virus (HTNV), Seoul virus (SEOV), Dobrava Belgrade virus (DOBV), and Puumala virus (PUUV). Recently, HTNV-related viruses, Amur (AMR) and Far East (FE) genotypes were identified as causative agents of HFRS in Far Eastern Russia. To investigate the epidemiology of HFRS and virus transmission, we collected sera from 17 acute and 32 convalescent patients who were clinically diagnosed with HFRS in the Khabarovsk region of Far Eastern Russia, and detected anti-hantavirus antibodies using an ELISA that can differentiate the infected virus serotype using truncated hantavirus nucleocapsid protein antigen. Sixteen of the 17 acute phase patients had antibodies to hantavirus, and all the positive sera had higher optical densities for HTNV-specific antigen than for SEOV-, DOBV-, or PUUV-specific antigens. The partial M segment of the viral genome was amplified from blood clots from three acute patients by PCR. The nucleotide sequences had closer identities to the FE genotype (>96%) than to the prototype HTNV (88 to 89%) or AMR genotype (81 to 83%). A phylogenetic analysis found that the virus sequences from the patients clustered with the FE type, and were distinct from the AMR type. Thirty-one of 32 convalescent patient sera had antibodies to HTNV-specific antigen. These data suggest that our ELISA system can detect HTNV-specific antibodies to the FE type, which may be responsible for most of the HFRS in Khabarovsk.
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