Volume 74, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Habitat fragmentation commonly influences distribution of zoonotic disease reservoirs. In Panama, populations of rodent hosts of hantaviruses are favored by small habitat fragments isolated by agricultural lands. We expected a similar relationship between landscape characteristics and host distribution at fine geographical scales in southern Panama. The relative abundance of , the primary host for “Calabazo” virus, and other rodents was assessed at 24 sites within the Azuero Peninsula. We used satellite imagery to produce several spatial variables that described landscape; however, only slope was consistently related to abundances of the two most dominant rodent species. Using regression, we constructed a spatial model of areas of dominance, which in turn relates to higher infection rates. The model predicts highest abundances of in flat areas, where humans also dominate. These predictions have important ecological and conservation implications that associate diversity loss, topography, and human land use.


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  • Received : 23 Aug 2005
  • Accepted : 17 Feb 2006

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