Spatial and temporal dynamics of Puumala hantavirus infection in red bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) populations in Belgium

Virus Res. 2000 Mar;67(1):91-107. doi: 10.1016/s0168-1702(00)00136-2.


Dynamics of hantavirus infection and population densities in rodents were investigated from 1996 to 1999 in southern Belgium. Evidence of Puumala infection was restricted to Clethrionomys glareolus. Although the serotype was not determined, antibodies against hantavirus were also found in eight Apodemus sylvaticus. In fall 1996, the seroprevalence in C. glareolus was high (20.1%, 37 of 184) and the infection was widely distributed in the area studied whereas a focal occurrence of positive rodents and lower seroprevalence rates were recorded in spring 1997 (14.3%, six of 42), fall 1997 (6. 6%, 11 of 166), spring 1998 (6.4%, three of 47) and fall 1998 (6.7%, 11 of 165). A pullulation of rodents was observed in spring 1999 and was associated with a markedly higher seroprevalence in C. glareolus (47.7%, 189 of 396). In all seasons, infection rates in adults were higher than in juveniles and subadults. No significant difference of prevalence was recorded between males and females. In two trapping sites, the temporary disappearance of positive animals after a crash in rodent populations suggests that a threshold in density is necessary for the maintenance of the enzootic cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Arvicolinae / immunology
  • Arvicolinae / virology*
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Genetic Variation
  • Hantavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Hantavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Orthohantavirus / classification
  • Orthohantavirus / genetics
  • Orthohantavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Population Dynamics
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Vero Cells


  • Antigens, Viral
  • RNA, Viral