Prevalence of antibodies against hantaviruses in serum and saliva of adults living or working on farms in Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
Jameson LJ., Newton A., Coole L., Newman ENC., Carroll MW., Beeching NJ., Hewson R., Christley RM.
Hantaviruses are an established cause of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Europe. Following a confirmed case of HFRS in the UK, in an individual residing on a farm in North Yorkshire and the Humber, a tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England, and the subsequent isolation of a Seoul hantavirus from rats trapped on the patient's farm, it was considered appropriate to further investigate the public health risk of this virus in the region. Of a total 119 individuals tested, nine (7.6%) were seropositive for hantavirus antibodies. Seven of the seropositive samples showed a stronger reaction to Seoul and Hantaan compared to other clinically relevant hantaviruses. Observation of rodents during the day, in particular mice, was associated with a reduced risk of seropositivity. In addition to one region known to be at risk following an acute case, five further potential risk areas have been identified. This study supports recently published evidence that hantaviruses are likely to be of public health interest in the region.