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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Dynamics and Drivers of Hantavirus Prevalence in Rodent Populations

Khalil, Hussein; Hörnfeldt, Birger; Evander, Magnus; Magnusson, Magnus; Olsson, Gert; Ecke, Frauke


Human encroachment on wildlife habitats has contributed to the emergence of several zoonoses. Pathogenichantaviruses are hosted by rodents and cause severe diseases in the Americas and Eurasia. We reviewed severalfactors that potentially drive prevalence (the proportion of infected rodents) in host populations. These includedemography, behavior, host density, small mammal diversity, predation, and habitat and landscape charac-teristics. This review is the first to include a quantitative summary of the literature investigating hantavirusprevalence in rodents. Demographic structure and density were investigated the most and predation the least.Reported effects of demographic structure and small mammal diversity were consistent, whereby reproductivemales were most likely to be infected and prevalence decreased with small mammal diversity. The influences ofhabitat and landscape properties are often complex and indirect. The relationship between density and prev-alence merits more investigation. Most hantavirus hosts are habitat generalists and their control is challenging.Incorporating all potential factors and their interactions is essential to understanding and controlling infection inhost populations.


Biodiversity; Density dependence; Habitat; Hantavirus; Predation; Prevalence; Rodent; Transmission

Published in

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
2014, Volume: 14, number: 8, pages: 537-551