Puumala virus, genus Hantavirus, is the etiologic agent of nephropathia epidemica, a mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. The bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) is the natural reservoir species of this hantavirus. We initiated sampling of bank voles at sites of recently identified human nephropathia epidemica cases and paired control sites in the fall of 1995 in coastal areas of northern Sweden. Sites were trapped annually in spring and fall until 1999. Prevalence of antibody to Puumala virus was similar among local bank vole populations in the two types of sites over time. During peak years, however, the absolute number of bank voles was higher in case sites than control sites. Consequently, the likelihood of Puumala virus exposure was increased at case sites during population highs. This would imply that the risk of Puumala virus exposure to conspecifics and humans is habitat and site dependent with a temporal component.
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Vol. 39 • No. 2