Natural rodent host associations of Guanarito and pirital viruses (Family Arenaviridae) in central Venezuela.

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  • 1 Department of Pathology and Center for Tropical Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston 77555-0609, USA.

The objective of this study was to elucidate the natural rodent host relationships of Guanarito and Pirital viruses (family Arenaviridae) in the plains of central Venezuela. Ninety-two arenavirus isolates from 607 animals, representing 10 different rodent species, were characterized to the level of serotype. The 92 isolates comprised 19 Guanarito virus strains and 73 Pirital virus strains. The 19 Guanarito virus isolates were from Zygodontomys brevicauda; 72 (98.6%) of the 73 Pirital virus isolates were from Sigmodon alstoni. These results indicate that the natural rodent associations of these 2 sympatric arenaviruses are highly specific and that Z brevicauda and S. alstoni are the principal rodent hosts of Guanarito and Pirital viruses, respectively.

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