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Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Dec;17(12):2209-15. doi: 10.3201/eid1712.110393.

Transmission of Guanarito and Pirital viruses among wild rodents, Venezuela.

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  • 1University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA.


Samples from rodents captured on a farm in Venezuela in February 1997 were tested for arenavirus, antibody against Guanarito virus (GTOV), and antibody against Pirital virus (PIRV). Thirty-one (48.4%) of 64 short-tailed cane mice (Zygodontomys brevicauda) were infected with GTOV, 1 Alston's cotton rat (Sigmodon alstoni) was infected with GTOV, and 36 (64.3%) of 56 other Alston's cotton rats were infected with PIRV. The results of analyses of field and laboratory data suggested that horizontal transmission is the dominant mode of GTOV transmission in Z. brevicauda mice and that vertical transmission is an important mode of PIRV transmission in S. alstoni rats. The results also suggested that bodily secretions and excretions from most GTOV-infected short-tailed cane mice and most PIRV-infected Alston's cotton rats may transmit the viruses to humans.

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