Epidemiology and Infection

Serological divergence of Dobrava and Saaremaa hantaviruses: evidence for two distinct serotypes

K.  BRUS SJÖLANDER  a1 a2, I.  GOLOVLJOVA  a3, V.  VASILENKO  a3, A.  PLYUSNIN  a1 a4 and Å.  LUNDKVIST  a1 a2 c1
a1 Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, SE-171 82 Stockholm, Sweden
a2 Microbiology and Tumour Biology Centre, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
a3 Institute of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, EE-11619 Tallinn, Estonia
a4 Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland


In order to investigate the serological relationship of Dobrava hantavirus (DOBV, originating from Slovenia) and the Dobrava-like Saaremaa virus (SAAV, recently discovered in Estonia) we analysed 37 human serum samples, 24 from Estonia and 13 from the Balkans, by focus reduction neutralization test (FRNT). Most of the Estonian sera (19), including all sera from Saaremaa island (12), reacted with higher FRNT end-point titres to the local SAAV; the majority of them (15 and 11, respectively), with at least fourfold or higher titres to SAAV than to DOBV. In contrast, out of the 13 sera collected in Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece, only one reacted more strongly with SAAV (with a twofold higher titre), while 10 of these sera reacted more strongly with the local DOBV (9/10 with fourfold or higher titres). These results indicate that DOBV and SAAV define unique hantavirus serotypes.

(Accepted July 27 2001)

c1 Author for correspondence: Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, SE-171 82 Stockholm, Sweden.