Natural nidality in Bolivian hemorrhagic fever and the systematics of the reservoir species

Jorge Salazar-Bravo, Jerry W. Dragoo, Michael D. Bowen, Clarence J. Peters, Thomas G. Ksiazek, Terry L. Yates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Zoonoses within wild reservoir host populations often occur focally obeying Pavlovskii's rules of "natural nidahty" What appears to be a clear example is Bolivian hemorrhagic fever (BHF), a disease endemic to northeastern Bolivia. The etiological agent is Machupo virus (MACV, Arenaviridae). The vertebrate reservoir, identified 30 years ago, was Calomys callosus a wild rodent common to open biomes in the lowlands of southeastern South America. The lack of concordance between the occurrence of MACV and the range of its rodent host has puzzled cadres of researchers and could be used as an exemplar of natural nidality. Here, we show that the populations of rodents responsible for the maintenance and transmission of MACV are an independent monophyletic lineage, different from those in other areas of South America. Therefore a clearer understanding of the systematics of the host species explains the apparent natural nidality of BHF. Similar studies may prove to be informative in other zoonoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Arenaviridae
  • Bent
  • Bolivia
  • Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
  • Calomys
  • Infection
  • Machupo
  • Systematics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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