The Ecology and Phylogeny of Hosts Drive the Enzootic Infection Cycles of Hantaviruses
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Hantaviruses (Family: Hantaviridae; genus: Orthohantavirus) and their associated human diseases occur globally and differ according to their geographic distribution. The structure of small mammal assemblages and phylogenetic relatedness among host species are suggested as strong drivers for the maintenance and spread of hantavirus infections in small mammals. We developed predictive models for hantavirus infection prevalence in rodent assemblages using defined ecological correlates from our current knowledge of hantavirus-host distributions to provide predictive models at the global and continental scale. We utilized data from published research between 1971-2014 and determined the biological and ecological characteristics of small mammal assemblages to predict the prevalence of hantavirus infections. These models are useful in predicting hantavirus disease outbreaks based on environmental and biological information obtained through the surveillance of rodents.