Identification of factors influencing the Puumala virus seroprevalence within its reservoir in aMontane Forest Environment.
ABSTRACT: Puumala virus (PUUV) is a major cause of mild to moderate haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and is transmitted by the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). There has been a high cumulative incidence of recorded human cases in South-eastern Germany since 2004 when the region was first recognized as being endemic for PUUV. As the area is well known for outdoor recreation and the Bavarian Forest National Park (BFNP) is located in the region, the increasing numbers of recorded cases are of concern. To understand the population and environmental effects on the seroprevalence of PUUV in bank voles we trapped small mammals at 23 sites along an elevation gradient from 317 to 1420m above sea level. Generalized linear mixed effects models(GLMEM) were used to explore associations between the seroprevalence of PUUV in bank voles and climate and biotic factors. We found that the seroprevalence of PUUV was low (6%-7%) in 2008 and 2009, and reached 29% in 2010. PUUV seroprevalence was positively associated with the local species diversity and deadwood layer, and negatively associated with mean annual temperature, mean annual solar radiation, and herb layer. Based on these findings, an illustrative risk map for PUUV seroprevalence prediction in bank voles was created for an area of the national park. The map will help when planning infrastructure in the national park (e.g., huts, shelters, and trails).
Project description:Understanding the dynamics of zoonotic pathogens in their reservoir host populations is a prerequisite for predicting and preventing human disease epidemics. The human infection risk of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is highest in northern Europe, where populations of the rodent host (bank vole, Myodes glareolus) undergo cyclic fluctuations. We conducted a 7-year capture-mark-recapture study to monitor seasonal and multiannual patterns of the PUUV infection rate in bank vole populations exhibiting a 3-year density cycle. Infected bank voles were most abundant in mid-winter months during years of increasing or peak host density. Prevalence of PUUV infection in bank voles exhibited a regular, seasonal pattern reflecting the annual population turnover and accumulation of infections within each year cohort. In autumn, the PUUV transmission rate tracked increasing host abundance, suggesting a density-dependent transmission. However, prevalence of PUUV infection was similar during the increase and peak years of the density cycle despite a twofold difference in host density. This may result from the high proportion of individuals carrying maternal antibodies constraining transmission during the cycle peak years. Our exceptionally intensive and long-term dataset provides a solid basis on which to develop models to predict the dynamic public health threat posed by PUUV in northern Europe.
Project description:The S segment of bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus)-associated Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) contains two overlapping open reading frames coding for the nucleocapsid (N) and a non-structural (NSs) protein. To identify the influence of bank vole population dynamics on PUUV S segment sequence evolution and test for spillover infections in sympatric rodent species, during 2010-2014, 883 bank voles, 357 yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis), 62 wood mice (A. sylvaticus), 149 common voles (Microtus arvalis) and 8 field voles (M. agrestis) were collected in Baden-Wuerttemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. In total, 27.9% and 22.3% of bank voles were positive for PUUV-reactive antibodies and PUUV-specific RNA, respectively. One of eight field voles was PUUV RNA-positive, indicating a spillover infection, but none of the other species showed evidence of PUUV infection. Phylogenetic and isolation-by-distance analyses demonstrated a spatial clustering of PUUV S segment sequences. In the hantavirus outbreak years 2010 and 2012, PUUV RNA prevalence was higher in our study regions compared to non-outbreak years 2011, 2013 and 2014. NSs amino acid and nucleotide sequence types showed temporal and/or local variation, whereas the N protein was highly conserved in the NSs overlapping region and, to a lower rate, in the N alone coding part.
Project description:Little is known about the presence of human pathogenic Puumala virus (PUUV) in Lithuania. We detected this virus in bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in a region of this country in which previously PUUV-seropositive humans were identified. Our results are consistent with heterogeneous distributions of PUUV in other countries in Europe.
Project description:To predict the risk of infectious diseases originating in wildlife, it is important to identify habitats that allow the co-occurrence of pathogens and their hosts. Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is a directly-transmitted RNA virus that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans, and is carried and transmitted by the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). In northern Sweden, bank voles undergo 3-4 year population cycles, during which their spatial distribution varies greatly.We used boosted regression trees; a technique inspired by machine learning, on a 10 - year time-series (fall 2003-2013) to develop a spatial predictive model assessing seasonal PUUV hazard using micro-habitat variables in a landscape heavily modified by forestry. We validated the models in an independent study area approx. 200 km away by predicting seasonal presence of infected bank voles in a five-year-period (2007-2010 and 2015).The distribution of PUUV-infected voles varied seasonally and inter-annually. In spring, micro-habitat variables related to cover and food availability in forests predicted both bank vole and infected bank vole presence. In fall, the presence of PUUV-infected voles was generally restricted to spruce forests where cover was abundant, despite the broad landscape distribution of bank voles in general. We hypothesize that the discrepancy in distribution between infected and uninfected hosts in fall, was related to higher survival of PUUV and/or PUUV-infected voles in the environment, especially where cover is plentiful.Moist and mesic old spruce forests, with abundant cover such as large holes and bilberry shrubs, also providing food, were most likely to harbor infected bank voles. The models developed using long-term and spatially extensive data can be extrapolated to other areas in northern Fennoscandia. To predict the hazard of directly transmitted zoonoses in areas with unknown risk status, models based on micro-habitat variables and developed through machine learning techniques in well-studied systems, could be used.
Project description:Puumala virus (PUUV) causes mild to moderate cases of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), and is responsible for the majority of hantavirus infections of humans in Fennoscandia, Central and Western Europe. Although there are relatively many PUUV sequences available from different European countries, little is known about the presence of this virus in Poland. During population studies in 2009 a total of 45 bank voles were trapped at three sites in north-eastern Poland, namely islands on Dejguny and Dobskie Lakes and in a forest near Miko?ajki. S and M segment-specific RT-PCR assays detected PUUV RNA in three animals from the Miko?ajki site. The obtained partial S and M segment sequences demonstrated the highest similarity to the corresponding segments of a PUUV strain from Latvia. Analysis of chest cavity fluid samples by IgG ELISA using a yeast-expressed PUUV nucleocapsid protein resulted in the detection of two seropositive samples, both being also RT-PCR positive. Interestingly, at the trapping site in Miko?ajki PUUV-positive bank voles belong to the Carpathian and Eastern genetic lineages within this species. In conclusion, we herein present the first molecular evidence for PUUV in the rodent reservoir from Poland.
Project description:Puumala virus (PUUV) is the agent of nephropathia epidemica (NE), a mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Europe. NE incidence presents a high spatial variation throughout France, while the geographical distribution of the wild reservoir of PUUV, the bank vole, is rather continuous. A missing piece of the puzzle is the current distribution and the genetic variation of PUUV in France, which has been overlooked until now and remains poorly understood. During a population survey, from 2008 to 2011, bank voles were trapped in eight different forests of France located in areas known to be endemic for NE or in area from where no NE case has been reported until now. Bank voles were tested for immunoglobulin (Ig)G ELISA serology and two seropositive animals for each of three different areas (Ardennes, Jura and Orleans) were then subjected to laboratory analyses in order to sequence the whole S, M and L segments of PUUV. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that French PUUV isolates globally belong to the central European (CE) lineage although isolates from Ardennes are clearly distinct from those in Jura and Orleans, suggesting a different evolutionary history and origin of PUUV introduction in France. Sequence analyses revealed specific amino acid signatures along the N protein, including in PUUV from the Orleans region from where NE in humans has never been reported. The relevance of these mutations in term of pathophysiology is discussed.
Project description:Heterogeneity in environmental conditions helps to maintain genetic and phenotypic diversity in ecosystems. As such, it may explain why the capacity of animals to mount immune responses is highly variable. The quality of habitat patches, in terms of resources, parasitism, predation and habitat fragmentation may, for example, trigger trade-offs ultimately affecting the investment of individuals in various immunological pathways. We described spatial immunoheterogeneity in bank vole populations with respect to landscape features and co-infection. We focused on the consequences of this heterogeneity for the risk of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) infection. We assessed the expression of the Tnf-? and Mx2 genes and demonstrated a negative correlation between PUUV load and the expression of these immune genes in bank voles. Habitat heterogeneity was partly associated with differences in the expression of these genes. Levels of Mx2 were lower in large forests than in fragmented forests, possibly due to differences in parasite communities. We previously highlighted the positive association between infection with Heligmosomum mixtum and infection with PUUV. We found that Tnf-? was more strongly expressed in voles infected with PUUV than in uninfected voles or in voles co-infected with the nematode H. mixtum and PUUV. H. mixtum may limit the capacity of the vole to develop proinflammatory responses. This effect may increase the risk of PUUV infection and replication in host cells. Overall, our results suggest that close interactions between landscape features, co-infection and immune gene expression may shape PUUV epidemiology.
Project description:Intensive management of Fennoscandian forests has led to a mosaic of woodlands in different stages of maturity. The main rodent host of the zoonotic Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is the bank vole (Myodes glareolus), a species that can be found in all woodlands and especially mature forests. We investigated the influence of forest age structure on PUUV infection dynamics in bank voles. Over four years, we trapped small mammals twice a year in a forest network of different succession stages in Northern Finland. Our study sites represented four forest age classes from young (4 to 30 years) to mature (over 100 years) forests. We show that PUUV-infected bank voles occurred commonly in all forest age classes, but peaked in mature forests. The probability of an individual bank vole to be PUUV infected was positively related to concurrent host population density. However, when population density was controlled for, a relatively higher infection rate was observed in voles trapped in younger forests. Furthermore, we found evidence of a "dilution effect" in that the infection probability was negatively associated with the simultaneous density of other small mammals during the breeding season. Our results suggest that younger forests created by intensive management can reduce hantaviral load in the environment, but PUUV is common in woodlands of all ages. As such, the Fennoscandian forest landscape represents a significant reservoir and source of hantaviral infection in humans.
Project description:Microevolution of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) was studied throughout a population cycle of its host, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). We monitored PUUV variants circulating in the host population in Central Finland over a five-year period that included two peak-phases and two population declines. Of 1369 bank voles examined, 360 (26.3%) were found infected with PUUV. Partial sequences of each of the three genome segments were recovered (approx. 12% of PUUV genome) from 356 bank voles. Analyses of these sequences disclosed the following features of PUUV evolution: 1) nucleotide substitutions are mostly silent and deduced amino acid changes are mainly conservative, suggesting stabilizing selection at the protein level; 2) the three genome segments accumulate mutations at a different rate; 3) some of the circulating PUUV variants are frequently observed while others are transient; 4) frequently occurring PUUV variants are composed of the most abundant segment genotypes (copious) and new transient variants are continually generated; 5) reassortment of PUUV genome segments occurs regularly and follows a specific pattern of segments association; 6) prevalence of reassortant variants oscillates with season and is higher in the autumn than in the spring; and 7) reassortants are transient, i.e., they are not competitively superior to their parental variants. Collectively, these observations support a quasi-neutral mode of PUUV microevolution with a steady generation of transient variants, including reassortants, and preservation of a few preferred genotypes.
Project description:Puumala virus (PUUV) in Europe causes nephropathia epidemica (NE), a mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). The incidence of NE is highly heterogeneous spatially, whereas the geographic distribution of the wild reservoir of PUUV, the bank vole, is essentially homogeneous. Our understanding of the processes driving this heterogeneity remains incomplete due to gaps in knowledge. Little is known about the current distribution and genetic variation of PUUV in the areas outside the well-identified zones of NE endemicity. We trapped bank voles in four forests in French regions in which NE is considered non-endemic, but sporadic NE cases have been reported recently. We tested bank voles for anti-PUUV IgG and characterized the S segment sequences of PUUV from seropositive animals. Phylogenetic analyses revealed specific amino-acid signatures and genetic differences between PUUV circulating in non-endemic and nearby NE-endemic areas. We also showed, in temporal surveys, that the amino-acid sequences of PUUV had undergone fewer recent changes in areas non-endemic for NE than in endemic areas. The evolutionary history of the current French PUUV clusters was investigated by phylogeographic approaches, and the results were considered in the context of the history of French forests. Our findings highlight the need to monitor the circulation and genetics of PUUV in a larger array of bank vole populations, to improve our understanding of the risk of NE.