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Objective

To determine whether animals had serologic evidence of infection with Sin Nombre virus (SNV).

Design

Prospective serosurvey.

Sample Population

Serum samples were obtained from 145 cats, 85 dogs, 120 horses, and 24 cattle between April 1993 and August 1994 and 54 coyotes between December 1994 and February 1995.

Procedure

Serum samples were analyzed by western immunoblot assays for reaction with SNV nucleocapsid antigen. Samples with reactivity to SNV nucleocapsid proteins were used to probe multiple-antigen blots containing recombinant fusion proteins derived from prototypic hantaviruses. Lung tissue or blood clots were used in nested reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays for a 320-nucleotide portion of the SNV G1 gene.

Results

Sera from 4 of 145 (2.8%) cats and 4 of 85 (3.5%) dogs had trace reactivity to full-length SNV-encoded nucleocapsid proteins. All samples from horses, cattle, and coyotes were nonreactive. Sera from cats and dogs that had trace IgG-antibody reactivity to nucleocapsid proteins were then tested for IgG-antibody reactivity to nucleocapsid proteins of prototypic hantaviruses. One cat had multiple cross-reactivities with these hantaviruses, consistent with exposure to a hantavirus; however, epitope mapping studies did not support this conclusion. Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction studies of blood clots or lung tissue from 2 animals that had weak reactivity to SNV failed to amplify any hantavirus sequence.

Clinical Implications

Domestic animals, particularly dogs and cats, as well as coyotes do not appear to have a major role in the maintenance and transmission of SNV. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212:970–973)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association