Arenavirus antibody in rodents indigenous to coastal southern California.

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  • 1 Orange County Vector Control District, Garden Grove, California 92843, USA.

The purpose of this study was to extend our knowledge on the geographic and natural rodent host ranges of New World arenaviruses in California. Sera from 1,094 sigmodontine and 112 murine rodents were tested for antibody against Whitewater Arroyo and Amapari viruses. Antibody was found in 55 (4.6%) of the 1,206 rodents: 4 from northwestern San Diego County, 3 from Los Angeles County, and 48 from Orange County. The antibody-positive rodents included 8 (7.8%) of 103 Neotoma fuscipes, 1 (0.6%) of 180 Neotoma lepida, 1 (3.1%) of 32 Peromyscus boylii, 8 (11.0%) of 73 Peromyscus californicus, 1 (1.2%) of 85 Peromyscus eremicus, 30 (8.5%) of 353 Peromyscus maniculatus, and 6 (2.2%) of 268 Reithrodontomys megalotis. This study provides the first evidence that New World arenaviruses occur in Los Angeles and Orange counties and northwestern San Diego County, and the first evidence that Peromyscus and Reithrodontomys species are naturally infected with New World arenaviruses.