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Distributional ecology of Andes hantavirus: a macroecological approach

By Francisca Astorga, Luis E. Escobar, Daniela Poo-Muñoz, Joaquin Escobar-Dodero, Sylvia Rojas-Hucks, Mario Alvarado-Rybak, Melanie Duclos, Daniel Romero-Alvarez, Blanca E. Molina-Burgos, Alexandra Peñafiel-Ricaurte, Frederick Toro, Francisco T. Peña-Gómez and A. Townsend Peterson


Abstract Background Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is an infection endemic in Chile and Argentina, caused by Andes hantavirus (ANDV). The rodent Oligoryzomys longicaudatus is suggested as the main reservoir, although several other species of Sigmodontinae are known hosts of ANDV. Here, we explore potential ANDV transmission risk to humans in southern South America, based on eco-epidemiological associations among: six rodent host species, seropositive rodents, and human HPS cases. Methods We used ecological niche modeling and macroecological approaches to determine potential geographic distributions and assess environmental similarity among rodents and human HPS cases. Results Highest numbers of rodent species (five) were in Chile between 35° and 41°S latitude. Background similarity tests showed niche similarity in 14 of the 56 possible comparisons: similarity between human HPS cases and the background of all species and seropositive rodents was supported (except for Abrothrix sanborni). Of interest among the results is the likely role of O. longicaudatus, Loxodontomys micropus, Abrothrix olivaceus, and Abrothrix longipilis in HPS transmission to humans. Conclusions Our results support a role of rodent species’ distributions as a risk factor for human HPS at coarse scales, and suggest that the role of the main reservoir (O. longicaudatus) may be supported by the broader rodent host community in some areas

Topics: Andes hantavirus, Bunyaviridae, Ecological niche modeling, Maxent, Rodent reservoirs, Zoonoses, Computer applications to medicine. Medical informatics, R858-859.7
Publisher: BMC
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1186/s12942-018-0142-z
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