Wild rodents (n=330) were trapped around the villages of Altındere and Coşandere (Maçka, Trabzon Province), Ayder, Ortan, and Yolkiyi (Çamlıhemşin, Rize Province), and Bozdağ (Ödemiş, İzmir Province) in northeastern and western Turkey during April 2004. Samples were tested for arenavirus, hantavirus, and cowpox virus (family Poxviridae, genus Orthopoxvirus, CPXV) antibodies by using immunofluorescence assays (IFAs). Antibodies against arenaviruses were found in eight of 330 (2.4%) rodents. Arenavirus-sero-positive animals were found from all study sites. Antibodies to Puumala virus (family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus, PUUV) were detected in four of 65 Microtus voles tested. Of the PUUV-IFA-positive voles, one Microtus guentheri lydius was caught from Izmir, and one Microtus roberti and two Microtus rossiaemeridionalis were captured near Trabzon. All 264 Apodemus spp. mice tested negative for antibodies to Saaremaa virus (family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus, SAAV); the single Dryomys nitedula tested negative for both PUUV and SAAV antibodies. Only one (0.3%) of the rodents, an Apodemus sylvaticus from Trabzon area, tested seropositive to CPXV. This is the first serologic survey for rodent-borne viruses in their natural hosts in Turkey. Although these preliminary results support presence of several virus groups with zoonotic potential, additional studies are needed to identify the specific viruses that are present in these populations.
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Vol. 42 • No. 3