Presence of the invasive genera Mus and Rattus in natural areas in Chile: An environmental and epidemiological risk Presencia de los géneros invasores Mus y Rattus en áreas naturales de Chile: Un riesgo ambiental y epidemiológico

Lobos, G; Palma R.E.; Ferrés M.

Keywords: rodentia, hantavirus, rattus, norvegicus, Murinae, Mus, musculus


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.

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Título de la Revista: Revista Chilena de Historia Natural
Volumen: 78
Número: 1
Fecha de publicación: 2005
Página de inicio: 113
Página final: 124