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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


LOBOS, GABRIEL; FERRES, MARCELA  and  PALMA, R. EDUARDO. Presence of the invasive genera Mus and Rattus in natural areas in Chile: an environmental and epidemiological risk. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2005, vol.78, n.1, pp.113-124. ISSN 0716-078X.

We conducted a latitudinal study in natural areas of continental Chile to evaluate the occurrence of the introduced murine rodents Mus musculus, Rattus rattus and R. norvegicus. Furthermore, we evaluated the epidemiological risk of these species as part of an ongoing study on Hantavirus. The results allowed us to conclude that M. musculus occurs rarely in natural environments. However, the two species of Rattus have widely invaded the mediterranean region of Chile. Desert, altitudinal and high latitude regions seem to be restricted areas for these invasive rodents. From an epidemiological perspective, the occurrence of Hantavirus in Rattus (Andes and Seoul strains) other than cause an ecological impact to the ecosystems, can create economic and public health disturbances. The fragility of mediterranean ecosystems shows that the presence of exotic species constitutes an element of risk for the conservation of the natural areas in Chile. Probably, the conservation of natural environments will constitute the best tool to manage these exotic species

Keywords : Mus musculus; Rattus rattus; Rattus norvegicus; invader species; Andes Hanta virus; Seoul Hanta virus; Chile.

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