By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

For the first time, the Tula orthohantavirus, or Tula virus was determined molecularly as the cause of a hantavirus disease in a German patient, according to the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI).


In Germany, there are at least four different human pathogenic hantaviruses in different rodents. In the future, a more precise virus typing should therefore take place in hantavirus diseases. The joint study by the National Consultative Laboratory for Hantaviruses (Human Medicine) of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin , with clinicians and laboratory doctors and the National Reference Laboratory for Hantaviruses (Veterinary Medicine) at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute ( FLI ) has now been published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The young man had to be hospitalized and showed symptoms of acute kidney failure. The serological examinations confirmed the suspicion of a hantavirus disease, but did not allow the identification of the virus causing the disease. A subsequent molecular analysis by the consulting laboratory for hantaviruses of the Charité led to the first molecular detection of a tula virus infection in a patient in Germany. In a comparative phylogenetic analysis at the FLI, the genome sequence obtained from the virus was most similar to tula virus sequences from field mice. “This result now moves the field mouse and the tula virus associated with it more into the focus of hantavirus epidemiology and will require better typing of hantavirus diseases in the future. “, Says Prof. Dr. Rainer Ulrich, Head of the National Reference Laboratory for Hantaviruses in Animals at the FLI .

The results of this study again confirm the need for close cooperation between human and veterinary medicine within the framework of the One Health concept. Joint follow-up studies with the Julius Kühn Institute will characterize the spread of the tula virus in the field vole reservoir and other voles more precisely. These investigations should also take into account other pathogens – such as the zoonotic pathogens leptospira and cowpox virus, which have also been detected in the field mouse. “Because of the mass reproductions that occur in the field mouse, the occurrence of human infections with tula virus should be observed more closely.”, Emphasizes Prof. Dr. Ulrich.

The investigations took place within the framework of the zoonosis association “RoBoPub” (Rodent-Borne-Pathogens-and-Public-Health: Improving public health through a better understanding of the epidemiology of rodent-borne diseases), which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which deals with hantaviruses and diseases caused by leptospira.