KAO C.L.1, CHEN C.J.2, YEN T.S.3, LIEN J.C.4, YANG C.Z.5.

School of Medical Technology1 and Dept. of Internal Medicine3 and Bacteriology5, College of Medicine and Institute of Epidemiology2, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University and National Institute of Preventive Medicine4, Department of Health, Taipei, Taiwan

In order to investigate the infection rate of Hantaan virus in Taiwan, a total of 6,536 human serum samples were collected from residents, selected by stratified random sampling, from 19 townships covering four different ethnic groups'. Aborigines, Fukien Taiwanese, Hakka Taiwanese, and Mainland Chinese. Serum samples were screened for Hantaan virus antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence. The prototype Hantaan virus (76/118) infected Vero E6 cells were used as the viral antigen for the antibody detection, Among 6,536 human serum samples, 403 (6.2%) samples had Hantaan virus antibodies. The seropositive rates for males and females were 6.1% and 6.2% respectively. A higher seropositive rate was found among Aborigines on the Orchid Islets (11.5%) and Fukien Taiwanese on the Penghu Islets (11.6%), while the lowest rate was observed among Hakka Taiwanese in south of Taiwan (2.5%). In comparing with different ethnic groups, the highest prevalence was found among Fukien Taiwanese (8.1%) and the lowest among Mainland Chinese (4.9%). Among the different geographical areas, the highest positive rate was found in western Taiwan (7.1%) and the lowest in southern Taiwan (5.4%). Hantaan virus antibodies were also detected in 22 of 548 (4.0%) rat serum samples. The highest seropositive rate was found in rat sera collected from Orchid Islet (21.4%). None of the rat sera collected from Hsinchu, Miaoli, Changhua, Nantu, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, and Penghu Counties were positive. Hantaan virus antibodies were found in rats: Rattus rattus (20%), Bandicota indica (9.0%), Rattus norvegicus (8.3%), Bandicota nemorivaga (6.3%), Rattua losea (4.2%), and Apodemus agrarius (1.6%). Hantaan virus antibodies were not detected in rat sera collected from species of Rattus coxinga, Rattus culturatus, Mus Musculus, Mus caroli, Suncus murinus and Apodemus semotus. The results showed that the Hantaan or Hantaan related virus exists and is widely in both human and rats in Taiwan.

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