Global Diversity and Distribution of Hantaviruses and Their Hosts.


Rodents represent 42% of the world's mammalian biodiversity encompassing 2,277 species populating every continent (except Antarctica) and are reservoir hosts for a wide diversity of disease agents. Thus, knowing the identity, diversity, host-pathogen relationships, and geographic distribution of rodent-borne zoonotic pathogens, is essential for predicting and mitigating zoonotic disease outbreaks. Hantaviruses are hosted by numerous rodent reservoirs. However, the diversity of rodents harboring hantaviruses is likely unknown because research is biased toward specific reservoir hosts and viruses. An up-to-date, systematic review covering all known rodent hosts is lacking. Herein, we document gaps in our knowledge of the diversity and distribution of rodent species that host hantaviruses. Of the currently recognized 681 cricetid, 730 murid, 61 nesomyid, and 278 sciurid species, we determined that 11.3, 2.1, 1.6, and 1.1%, respectively, have known associations with hantaviruses. The diversity of hantaviruses hosted by rodents and their distribution among host species supports a reassessment of the paradigm that each virus is associated with a single-host species. We examine these host-virus associations on a global taxonomic and geographical scale with emphasis on the rodent host diversity and distribution. Previous reviews have been centered on the viruses and not the mammalian hosts. Thus, we provide a perspective not previously addressed.

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