Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is highly endemic in mainland China, and has extended from rural areas to cities recently. Beijing metropolis is a novel affected region, where the HFRS incidence seems to be diverse from place to place.
The spatial scan analysis based on geographical information system (GIS) identified three geo-spatial “hotspots” of HFRS in Beijing when the passive surveillance data from 2004 to 2006 were used. The Relative Risk (RR) of the three “hotspots” was 5.45, 3.57 and 3.30, respectively. The Phylogenetic analysis based on entire coding region sequence of S segment and partial L segment sequence of Seoul virus (SEOV) revealed that the SEOV strains circulating in Beijing could be classified into at least three lineages regardless of their host origins. Two potential recombination events that happened in lineage #1 were detected and supported by comparative phylogenetic analysis. The SEOV strains in different lineages and strains with distinct special amino acid substitutions for N protein were partially associated with different spatial clustered areas of HFRS.
Hotspots of HFRS were found in Beijing, a novel endemic region, where intervention should be enhanced. Our data suggested that the genetic variation and recombination of SEOV strains was related to the high risk areas of HFRS, which merited further investigation.
Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is caused by Hantaviruses, the enzootic viruses with a worldwide distribution. In China, HFRS is a significant public health problem with more than 10,000 human cases reported annually and the endemic areas of the disease have extended from rural to urban areas and even to central cities in recent years. The HFRS incidence has increased recently and the morbidity seemed to be considerably diverse in different areas in Beijing, the capital of China. With the aim of gaining more information to control this disease, we carried out a spatial analysis of HFRS based on the data from human cases during 2004–2006 and investigated the genetic features of complete S and partial L segment sequences of Seoul virus from natural infected rodent hosts and patients. We found three geo-spatial clusters, i.e., “hotspots” of HFRS in Beijing, where intervention should be enhanced. Our data indicated that the genetic variation and recombination of SEOV might be related to the high risk areas of HFRS in Beijing, which was worthy of further investigation.