A survey of rodent-borne pathogens carried by wild Rattus spp. in Northern Vietnam

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To examine the prevalence of human pathogens carried by rats in urban areas in Hanoi and Hai Phong, Vietnam, we live-trapped 100 rats in January 2011 and screened them for a panel of bacteria and viruses. Antibodies against Leptospira interrogans (22·0%), Seoul virus (14·0%) and rat hepatitis E virus (23·0%) were detected in rats, but antibodies against Yersinia pestis were not detected. Antibodies against L. interrogans and Seoul virus were found only in adult rats. In contrast, antibodies to rat hepatitis E virus were also found in juvenile and sub-adult rats, indicating that the transmission mode of rat hepatitis E virus is different from that of L. interrogans and Seoul virus. Moreover, phylogenetic analyses of the S and M segments of Seoul viruses found in Rattus norvegicus showed that Seoul viruses from Hai Phong and Hanoi formed different clades. Human exposure to these pathogens has become a significant public health concern.

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