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Transcript
Training Manual on Wildlife Diseases and Surveillance
species are adaptable species able to thrive in the new environment while the majority of other
rodent species do not adapt. There is, then, a large increase in the population of the reservoir
rodent species in the disturbed environment with no competition from other similar species.
The second is loss of the what some disease ecologists call the ‘dilution effect’. In the complex
natural environment, there are many different species of small rodents competing for food and
living space. However, each of the zoonotic viruses generally infects only one of these species.
When there are many different species in the environment, they cause the reservoir species to
live at lower population density and transmission of virus among them is at a lower rate. Thus,
the prevalence of infection in the reservoir species is low. In this sense, the other rodent species
‘dilute’ or reduce the concentration of the reservoir species and also reduce the prevalence of
infection of the zoonotic Hantavirus and Arenaviruses within the reservoir species. People living
in the complex natural environment thus are less likely to become infected because there are
fewer infected rodents, even though there are many rodents. In the disturbed environment with
very few species of small rodents, the dilution effect is removed and both the density of the
population of reservoir rodents and the prevalence of infection within that reservoir rodent
population increase. Thus, people living in this simplified, disturbed environment are at higher
risk of acquiring infection from the wildlife reservoir.
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