Development and Characterization of a sin nombre virus transmission model in peromyscus maniculatus

Bryce M. Warner, Derek R. Stein, Bryan D. Griffin, Kevin Tierney, Anders Leung, Angela Sloan, Darwyn Kobasa, Guillaume Poliquin, Gary P. Kobinger, David Safronetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In North America, Sin Nombre virus (SNV) is the main cause of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), a severe respiratory disease with a fatality rate of 35-40%. SNV is a zoonotic pathogen carried by deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), and few studies have been performed examining its transmission in deer mouse populations. Studying SNV and other hantaviruses can be difficult due to the need to propagate the virus in vivo for subsequent experiments. We show that when compared with standard intramuscular infection, the intraperitoneal infection of deer mice can be as effective in producing SNV stocks with a high viral RNA copy number, and this method of infection provides a more reproducible infection model. Furthermore, the age and sex of the infected deer mice have little effect on viral replication and shedding. We also describe a reliable model of direct experimental SNV transmission. We examined the transmission of SNV between deer mice and found that direct contact between deer mice is the main driver of SNV transmission rather than exposure to contaminated excreta/secreta, which is thought to be the main driver of transmission of the virus to humans. Furthermore, increases in heat shock responses or testosterone levels in SNV-infected deer mice do not increase the replication, shedding, or rate of transmission. Here, we have demonstrated a model for the transmission of SNV between deer mice, the natural rodent reservoir for the virus. The use of this model will have important implications for further examining SNV transmission and in developing strategies for the prevention of SNV infection in deer mouse populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number183
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Deer mice
  • Hantavirus
  • Peromyscus maniculatus
  • Sin Nombre virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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