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Strengthening public health by understanding the epidemiology of rodent-borne diseases:


Subproject “Puumala hantavirus: geographic distribution in the rodent reservoir and risk of the human population


Duration: 07/2020 - 06/2022

Funding: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research



The studies will contribute to a better understanding of the heterogeneous geographic distribution of Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) in Germany and the underlying mechanisms. To this end, the current distribution limit of PUUV in the reservoir host will be investigated in more detail. In addition, PUUV prevalence will be determined over a complete population cycle of the host; phase 1: low abundance, phase 2: mass reproduction and phase 3: population collapse. On this basis, the entire natural reservoir reinfection process can be traced. Beyond the knowledge of the current spread of PUUV in the reservoir host, the extent to which the virus spreads in different lineages of red-backed voles populations and the mechanisms involved will be examined. In addition, new cell lines of the reservoir host and virus isolates of PUUV of the Central European lineage will be generated to extend the results from the field study with in vitro findings on pathogen stability and host association. The gained knowledge on pathogen geography as well as on stability and host association will be used for the generation of small-scale risk maps and of corresponding recommendations for action for the public health service. On this basis, information can be provided to the population, risk groups and practicing physicians.

Further information can be found on the project page:

Involved INNT scientists:

Prof. Dr. Rainer G. Ulrich

Dr. Stephan Drewes (PostDoc)

The RoBoPub project partners at the kick-off meeting in Berlin on 11.09.2017 (Photo © Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin)

Project partners

Dr. Anne Mayer-Scholl, Prof. Dr. Karsten Nöckler
Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR), Berlin, Deutschland

Dr. Jens Jacob
Julius-Kühn-Institut (JKI), Münster, Deutschland

Prof. Dr. Martin Runge, Dr. Jona Freise, Dr. Lutz Fischer
Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (LAVES), Hannover und Wardenburg, Deutschland

Dr. Marcel Müller, Prof. Dr. Jörg Hofmann
Universitätsmedizin Charité, Campus Mitte (CCM), Berlin, Deutschland

Prof. Dr. Martin Pfeffer
Universität, Leipzig, Vet.med. Fakultät, Leipzig, Deutschland

Dr. Kerstin Dressel
Sine-Institut gGmbH (SINE), München, Deutschland

Dr. Johannes Dreesman
Niedersächsisches Landesgesundheitsamt (NLGA), Hannover, Deutschland