Distributional ecology of Andes hantavirus: A macroecological approach

Francisca Astorga, Luis E. Escobar, Daniela Poo-Muñoz, Joaquin Escobar-Dodero, Sylvia Rojas-Hucks, Mario Alvarado-Rybak, Melanie Duclos, Daniel Romero-Alvarez, Blanca E. Molina-Burgos, Alexandra Peñafiel-Ricaurte, Frederick Toro, Francisco T. Peña-Gómez, A. Townsend Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is an infection endemic in Chile and Argentina, caused by Andes hantavirus (ANDV). The rodent Oligoryzomys longicaudatus is suggested as the main reservoir, although several other species of Sigmodontinae are known hosts of ANDV. Here, we explore potential ANDV transmission risk to humans in southern South America, based on eco-epidemiological associations among: six rodent host species, seropositive rodents, and human HPS cases. Methods: We used ecological niche modeling and macroecological approaches to determine potential geographic distributions and assess environmental similarity among rodents and human HPS cases. Results: Highest numbers of rodent species (five) were in Chile between 35° and 41°S latitude. Background similarity tests showed niche similarity in 14 of the 56 possible comparisons: similarity between human HPS cases and the background of all species and seropositive rodents was supported (except for Abrothrix sanborni). Of interest among the results is the likely role of O. longicaudatus, Loxodontomys micropus, Abrothrix olivaceus, and Abrothrix longipilis in HPS transmission to humans. Conclusions: Our results support a role of rodent species' distributions as a risk factor for human HPS at coarse scales, and suggest that the role of the main reservoir (O. longicaudatus) may be supported by the broader rodent host community in some areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
JournalInternational Journal of Health Geographics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2018


  • Andes hantavirus
  • Bunyaviridae
  • Ecological niche modeling
  • Maxent
  • Rodent reservoirs
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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