No measurable adverse effects of Lassa, Morogoro and Gairo arenaviruses on their rodent reservoir host in natural conditions
De Bruyn, Luc
Bongo, Gedeon Ngiala
de Bellocq, Joelle Gouy
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherBIOMED CENTRAL LTD
CitationNo measurable adverse effects of Lassa, Morogoro and Gairo arenaviruses on their rodent reservoir host in natural conditions 2017, 10 (1) Parasites & Vectors
JournalParasites & Vectors
Rights© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
AbstractBackground: In order to optimize net transmission success, parasites are hypothesized to evolve towards causing minimal damage to their reservoir host while obtaining high shedding rates. For many parasite species however this paradigm has not been tested, and conflicting results have been found regarding the effect of arenaviruses on their rodent host species. The rodent Mastomys natalensis is the natural reservoir host of several arenaviruses, including Lassa virus that is known to cause Lassa haemorrhagic fever in humans. Here, we examined the effect of three arenaviruses (Gairo, Morogoro and Lassa virus) on four parameters of wild-caught Mastomys natalensis: body mass, head-body length, sexual maturity and fertility. After correcting for the effect of age, we compared these parameters between arenavirus-positive (arenavirus RNA or antibody) and negative animals using data from different field studies in Guinea (Lassa virus) and Tanzania (Morogoro and Gairo viruses). Results: Although the sample sizes of our studies (1297, 749 and 259 animals respectively) were large enough to statistically detect small differences in body conditions, we did not observe any adverse effects of these viruses on Mastomys natalensis. We did find that sexual maturity was significantly positively related with Lassa virus antibody presence until a certain age, and with Gairo virus antibody presence in general. Gairo virus antibody-positive animals were also significantly heavier and larger than antibody-free animals. Conclusion: Together, these results suggest that the pathogenicity of arenaviruses is not severe in M. natalensis, which is likely to be an adaptation of these viruses to optimize transmission success. They also suggest that sexual behaviour might increase the probability of M. natalensis to become infected with arenaviruses.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsUniversity of Antwerp; Antwerp study centre for disease (ASCID) [GOA BOF FFB3567]; INCO-DEV grant [ICA4-CT2002-10050]; Marie Curie fellowship [PIEF-GA-2009-235164]; German Research Foundation (Focus Programs 1596 from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) [FI 1781/1-1, GU 883/3-1, LE SPP]; BEBUC (Bourse d'Excellence Bringmann aux Universites Congolaises); Holger-Pohlmann Foundation (Germany)