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Free Content Hantavirus ecology in rodent populations in three protected areas of Argentina

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In this study, we identified hantavirus genotypes and their reservoirs and evaluated the spatial and temporal distribution of the virus in rodent population in three protected areas of Argentina over 3 years (2007–2010). A total of 837 rodents were captured with an effort of 22 117 trap‐nights. We detected the genotype Lechiguanas in Oligoryzomys nigripes and O. flavescens and Pergamino in Akodon azarae. There was no correlation between seroprevalence and trap success of the host. The proportion of seropositive males was significantly higher than the proportion of seropositive females. The total length of seropositives was higher than that of seronegatives in each host species. Seropositive individuals were observed in warm months and not in cold months, which suggests an infection cycle. This investigation confirms that protected areas of central east Argentina are places with a variety of sylvan rodents species associated with different hantavirus genotypes where reservoirs are numerically dominant. Although there was more than one known reservoir of hantavirus, only one species had antibodies in each area. This can be explained because the transmission of the virus does need not only the presence of a rodent species but also a threshold density. Longevity of even a small proportion of the host population in cold months may provide a trans‐seasonal mechanism for virus persistence. The seroprevalence detected was higher than the one found before in rodent populations of Argentina, and this explains the appearance of human cases in two of these three areas.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Infecciosas ANLIS ‘Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán’, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2:  Lab. de Ecología de Poblaciones, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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