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, 16 (4), 671-681

Mechanisms of Hantavirus Transmission in Oligoryzomys Longicaudatus

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Mechanisms of Hantavirus Transmission in Oligoryzomys Longicaudatus

Ernesto Juan et al. Ecohealth.

Abstract

The cricetid rodent Oligoryzomys longicaudatus is the species host of Andes virus (ANDV) which causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in southern Argentina and Chile. Population density, behavioral interactions, and spacing patterns are factors that affect viral transmission among wild rodents. We predict that the highest prevalence of hantavirus antibody positive would be found among wounded, reproductive males and that, at high population densities, wounded, reproductive males would be dispersers rather than resident individuals. The study was conducted seasonally from October (spring) 2011 to October (spring) 2013 in a shrubland habitat of Cholila, Argentina. During each trapping session, we classified captured O. longicaudatus as resident or disperser individuals, estimated population density, and recorded wounds as an indicator of aggression among individuals. We obtained blood samples from each individual for serological testing. We used generalized linear models to test the statistical significance of association between antibody prevalence, and sex, resident/dispersal status, wounds and trapping session. The highest proportion of seropositive O. longicaudatus individuals was among wounded reproductive males during periods of the greatest population density, and the characteristics of seroconverted individuals support that transmission is horizontal through male intrasexual competition. A positive association between dispersing individuals and hantavirus antibody was detected at high population density. Our study design allowed us to obtain data on a large number of individuals that are seroconverted, enabling a better understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of the ANDV host system.

Keywords: Dispersion; Hantavirus prevalence; Oligoryzomys longicaudatus; Seroconversion.

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