Hantaviruses are worldwide rodent-borne pathogens infecting humans and other animals mainly through inhalation of aerosols contaminated with rodent excreta. Few data are available on hantavirus serology and geographical distribution in dogs and cats. We therefore screened sera from pet dogs (N=410) and cats (N=124) in two regions of Belgium, using IgG ELISA and IFA. We analysed the effect of the owner's address as well as pet gender and age on hantavirus status. Hantavirus antibodies were found in both species with a significantly higher seroprevalence in cats than in dogs (16.9% vs. 4.9%, P=0.001). More dogs were infected in highly forested southern Belgium (harbouring more rodents) than in northern Belgium (10.5% vs. 3.0%, P=0.002). In the south, hantavirus sero-positive cats were found in more densely forested localities than sero-negatives ones were (P=0.033). These results are consistent with the ecological variations of hantavirus risks in humans.
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