Seoul virus infection and spread in United States home-based ratteries: Rat and human testing results from a multistate outbreak investigation

Multistate Seoul Virus Outbreak Investigation Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. During 2017, a multistate outbreak investigation occurred after the confirmation of Seoul virus (SEOV) infections in people and pet rats. A total of 147 humans and 897 rats were tested. Methods. In addition to immunoglobulin (Ig)G and IgM serology and traditional reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), novel quantitative RT-PCR primers/probe were developed, and whole genome sequencing was performed. Results. Seventeen people had SEOV IgM, indicating recent infection; 7 reported symptoms and 3 were hospitalized. All patients recovered. Thirty-one facilities in 11 US states had SEOV infection, and among those with ≥10 rats tested, rat IgG prevalence ranged 2%-70% and SEOV RT-PCR positivity ranged 0%-70%. Human laboratory-confirmed cases were significantly associated with rat IgG positivity and RT-PCR positivity (P =.03 and P =.006, respectively). Genomic sequencing identified >99.5% homology between SEOV sequences in this outbreak, and these were >99% identical to SEOV associated with previous pet rat infections in England, the Netherlands, and France. Frequent trade of rats between home-based ratteries contributed to transmission of SEOV between facilities. Conclusions. Pet rat owners, breeders, and the healthcare and public health community should be aware and take steps to prevent SEOV transmission in pet rats and to humans. Biosecurity measures and diagnostic testing can prevent further infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1311-1319
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume222
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hantavirus
  • Seoul virus
  • Zoonotic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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