Determining the reservoir hosts for parasites is crucial for designing control measures, but it is often difficult to identify the role that each host species plays in maintaining the cycle of infection in the wild. One way to identify potential maintenance hosts is to estimate key parameters associated with transmission and pathogenicity. Here we assess the potential for three native rodent species of the Brazilian Pantanal (Clyomys laticeps, Thrichomys pachyurus and Oecomys mamorae) to act as reservoir or maintenance hosts of Trypanosoma evansi, an important parasite of domestic livestock. By analyzing blood parameters of naturally infected wild-caught rodents of these species, we compared their levels of parasitemia and anemia due to T. evansi infection with literature values for other host species infected by this parasite. We also analyzed levels of these blood parameters relative to infection by Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease in humans, for which wild rodents are already thought to be important reservoir species. All three species showed low impacts of the two trypanosomes on their blood parameters compared to other species, suggesting that they experience a low virulence of trypanosome infection under natural conditions in the Pantanal and might act as maintenance hosts of trypanosome infections. The low parasitemia of trypanosome infections suggests that these rodents play a secondary role in the transmission cycle compared to other species, especially compared to the capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) which also experiences low pathogenicity due to infection despite much higher levels of parasitemia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- veterinary (miscalleneous)
- Insect Science
- Infectious Diseases