Researchers from the University of Oulu and the University of Jyväskylä studied viruses in bank voles inhabiting areas surrounding the former nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Even though it has been 34 year since the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the area still has patches of high radiation levels.
Kesäniemi and colleagues identified four new virus species, which were able to spread to bank vole spleen and liver. Interestingly, these viruses were found also from Swedish bank voles, which indicates that the viruses are common in European bank voles.
However, researchers did not find any indication that environmental radiation would affect the viruses’ abundance or distribution. According to the results, the virus amounts, and species were similar in bank voles inhabiting the former Chernobyl nuclear accident site or control areas with normal radiation levels.
Bank voles from Chernobyl. Photo: Anton Lavrinienko
Main photo: Closed area of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Photo: Jaana Jurvansuu
Kesäniemi, J.; Lavrinienko, A.; Tukalenko, E.; Mappes, T.; Watts, P.C.; Jurvansuu, J. Infection Load and Prevalence of Novel Viruses Identified from the Bank Vole Do Not Associate with Exposure to Environmental Radioactivity. Viruses 2020, 12, 44. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010044
Last updated: 14.1.2020