Validation of the Puumala virus rapid field test for bank voles in Germany
Puumala virus (PUUV) causes many human infections in large parts of Europe and can lead to mild to moderate disease. The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the only reservoir of PUUV in Central Europe. A commercial PUUV rapid field test for rodents was validated for bank-vole blood samples collected in two PUUV-endemic regions in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg). A comparison of the results of the rapid field test and standard ELISAs indicated a test efficacy of 93–95%, largely independent of the origin of the antigens used in the ELISA. In ELISAs, reactivity for the German PUUV strain was higher compared to the Swedish strain but not compared to the Finnish strain, which was used for the rapid field test. In conclusion, the use of the rapid field test can facilitate short-term estimation of PUUV seroprevalence in bank-vole populations in Germany and can aid in assessing human PUUV infection risk.