Two hantavirus strains, MF43 and MF113, isolated from trapped in the Khabarovsk region of far-eastern Russia, were analysed by direct nucleotide sequencing of PCR generated fragments of the M and S segments, by immunofluorescence and by focus reduction neturalization tests (FRNT). The nucleotide sequences revealed that the two isolates were closely related to each other but distinct from all other hantaviruses. Phylogenetic analysis of the M and S segments showed that the MF strains form a separate branch in the tree, positioned between the branches of Prospect Hill and Puumala viruses. The strains were shown to be serologically distinct from the other hantavirus serotypes by FRNT using immune rabbit sera. Puumala virus was the closest relative, both genetically and serologically. We propose that this new hantavirus serotype should be named Khabarovsk (KBR).


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