The seroprevalence of Hantaan virus (HTNV) in wild rodents in South Korea was analyzed. Wild rodents were trapped in 18 cities in eight provinces during 2005–2007 and on three islands and four mountains during 2008–2010. Sera were collected from 629 out of 933 trapped wild animals and examined for immunoglobulin G antibodies to HTNV using indirect immunofluorescence assays. Apodemus agrarius (80.1%) was the most frequently captured species at almost all trapping sites. The overall prevalence of HTNV antibodies was 0.26 (162/629). Seropositive individuals were more frequent in cities (32.2%, n=410) than on islands (14.0%, n=57) or mountains (13.6%, n= 162). HTNV antibody-positive rate was higher in the fall (29.6%, n=253) than in the spring (23.1%, n=376). A. agrarius had the highest prevalence of HTNV antibodies (26.9%, n=561) of all tested species. Considering all the individuals, the prevalence of HTNV antibodies was higher in males (29.2%, n=250) than in females (22.3%, n=305). Our results show that HTNV is widely distributed throughout South Korea, and that HTNV infection of wild rodents is affected by their habitat, species, sex, and season.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1