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Exotic Pinus radiata Plantations do not Increase Andes Hantavirus Prevalence in Rodents

Abstract

Andes south virus (ANDV) is the etiologic agent of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in Chile and southern Argentina. Farm and forestry workers have been identified as a group at high risk of acquiring HCPS caused by ANDV due to their close exposure to rodents or their secretions in rural areas. Therefore, investigation on the effect of landscape composition on ANDV in wild rodents becomes relevant for disease prevention and control. In this study, we analyzed the influence of Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) plantations, an important monoculture in the global forest industry, on small mammal assemblage and on ANDV seroprevalence and abundance of seropositive rodents from central Chile. Small mammals were sampled seasonally during 2 years in native forests, adult pine plantations and young pine plantations. A total of 1630 samples from seven rodent species were analyzed for antibody detection. ANDV seroprevalence and abundance of seropositive rodents were significantly higher in the native forest compared to pine plantations. Furthermore, Monterey pine plantations decrease the abundance and relative abundance of Oligoryzomys longicaudatus (the principal reservoir of ANDV) and do not change sex ratio and distribution of age classes of this rodent species, which are variables that are important for ANDV transmission. Our findings indicate that Monterey pine plantations would not pose a higher risk of human exposure to ANDV compared to the temperate native forest. Our results can be useful for hantavirus risks assessment in human-dominated areas where ANDV is endemic.

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Acknowledgements

This work has been supported by CONICYT FONDECYT/Postdoctoral Grant No. 3160037 and additional support by FONDECYT No. 1140657. We thank M. Barceló, J. Veloso, M. Silva, M. Riquelme, A. Arzabe, H. Mendoza, C. Muñoz, L. Moreno and other volunteers for assistance during field sampling. We are grateful to S. J. Crespin for assistance with statistical analysis. We also thank C. Reyes (CONAF) and R. Zuñiga for logistical support in the field and C. Veloso for the loan of traps. We appreciate support from Dr. M. Ferrés, C. Martínez and C. Andaur for the serology analyses. We thank Forestal Masisa S.A. and Corporación Nacional Forestal for allowing us to work on their properties.

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Rubio, A.V., Fredes, F. & Simonetti, J.A. Exotic Pinus radiata Plantations do not Increase Andes Hantavirus Prevalence in Rodents. EcoHealth 16, 659–670 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-019-01443-1

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Keywords

  • Chile
  • Disease risk
  • Hantavirus
  • Land-use change
  • Rodents
  • Zoonoses