Rodents are important reservoir hosts for several zoonotic pathogens that cause significant morbidity and mortality in humans. Among others, leptospirosis is one of the most widespread zoonotic diseases worldwide and has the similar clinical manifestation with hantavirus infection in humans. Despite the fact that both pathogens have great epidemiological significance in Europe, no epizootiological data exist for urbanized areas so far. Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the occurrence and prevalence of Leptospira spp. and hantaviruses in small wild rodents living in close proximity to humans. Altogether, 338 small rodents representing five different species (Apodemus agrarius, A. flavicollis, A. sylvaticus, Microtus arvalis, and Myodes glareolus) were captured in the city of Pécs (Hungary) and screened for pathogens by different types of PCR methods (TaqMan-based real-time PCR/PCR, RT-PCR/PCR). A total of 18.3% of the rodents were positive for Leptospira kirschneri, L. interrogans, and L. borgpetersenii. Nucleic acid of Tula hantavirus and human pathogen Dobrava-Belgrade orthohantavirus were detected in 8% of tested specimens. Furthermore, dual infections with both Leptospira spp. and hantaviruses were shown in 2.6% of animals, suggesting that the same rodent host can be infected with several pathogens at the same time, therefore, representing a serious threat to public health. Overall, this study provides important surveillance data on the prevalence of Leptospira spp. and hantaviruses from rodents in urbanized environment for the first time in Hungary and emphasizes the importance of further ecoepidemiological investigations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases