Chronic infections in specific rodents appear to be crucial to the long- term persistence of arenaviruses in nature. The cane mouse, Zygodontomys brevicauda, is a natural host of Guanarito virus (family Arenaviridae), the etiologic agent of Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the natural history of Guanarito virus infection in Z. brevicauda. Thirty-nine laboratory-reared cane mice each were inoculated subcutaneously with 3.0 log10 plaque-forming units of the Guanarito virus prototype strain INH-95551. No lethality was associated with infection in any animal, regardless of age at inoculation. The 13 newborn, 14 weanling, and 8 of the 12 adult animals developed chronic viremic infections characterized by persistent shedding of infectious virus in oropharyngeal secretions and urine. These findings indicate that Guanarito virus infection in Z. brevicauda can be chronic and thus support the concept that this rodent species is the natural reservoir of Guanarito virus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health