Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is a rodent-borne zoonotic disease caused by hantavirus infection. Many HFRS cases have been reported in East Asia and North Europe, while the situation in Southeast Asia remains unclear. In this study, the prevalence of hantavirus infection in rodents and humans in Thousand Islands regency, which is close to the port of Jakarta, one of the largest historic ports in Indonesia, was investigated. A total of 170 rodents were captured in 2005, and 27 (15.9%) of the rodents were antibody-positive against Hantaan virus antigen in an immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and Western blotting. Despite the high prevalence in rodents, human sera collected from 31 patients with fever of unknown origin and 20 healthy volunteers in the islands in 2009 did not show positive reaction to the antigen in IFA. To identify the virus in rodents genetically, a total of 59 rodents were captured in 2009. Sera from the rodents were screened for antibody by ELISA, and lung tissues were subjected to RT-PCR. 20 (33.9%) of the 59 rodents were antibody-positive, and 3 of those 20 rodents were positive for S and M genome segments of hantaviruses. Genetic analysis showed that the viruses belonged to Seoul virus and formed a cluster with those in Vietnam and Singapore. These results suggest that a unique group of Seoul viruses has spread widely in Southeast Asia.
Ectoparasites were sampled from small mammals collected in West Java, West Sumatra, North Sulawesi, and East Kalimantan, Indonesia, in 2007-2008 and were screened for evidence of infection from bacteria in the Rickettsaceae family. During eight trap nights at eight sites, 208 fleas were collected from 96 of 507 small mammals trapped from four orders (379 Rodentia; 123 Soricomorpha; two Carnivora; three Scandentia). Two species of fleas were collected: Xenopsylla cheopis (n = 204) and Nosopsyllus spp. (n = 4). Among the 208 fleas collected, 171 X. cheopis were removed from rats (Rattus spp.) and 33 X. cheopis from shrews (Suncus murinus). X. cheopis were pooled and tested for DNA from rickettsial agents Rickettsia typhi, Rickettsia felis, and spotted fever group rickettsiae. R. typhi, the agent of murine typhus, was detected in X. cheopis collected from small mammals in West Java and East Kalimantan. R. felis was detected in X. cheopis collected from small mammals in Manado, North Sulawesi. R. felis and spotted fever group rickettsiae were detected in a pool of X. cheopis collected from an animal in East Kalimantan. Sixteen percent of the X. cheopis pools were found positive for Rickettsia spp.; four (10.8%) R. typhi, one (2.7%) R. felis, and one (2.7%) codetection of R. felis and a spotted fever group rickettsia. These data suggest that rickettsial infections remain a threat to human health across Indonesia.
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