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Prevalence of viral antibodies and helminths in field populations of house mice (Mus domesticus) in southeastern Australia

  • G. R. Singleton (a1), A. L. Smith (a2), G. R. Shellam (a3), N. Fitzgerald (a3) and W. J. Müller (a4)...

Summary

A 13-month study of wild mice (Mus domesticus) in wheatlands in southeastern Australia contrasted changes in the seroprevalence of antibody to 13 viruses and the occurrence of helminths with changes in their population dynamics. Mice were seropositive for mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), rotavirus, minute virus of mice (MVM), mouse adenovirus (MAdV), reovirus (reo 3), and murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV). The seroprevalences of all but rotavirus varied significantly with time and increased with host density. Near the end of the study, host density declined rapidly and the seroprevalence of MVM and reo 3 increased significantly. These two viruses had low seroprevalence when host survival was high and high seroprevalence when host survival was low, indicating they may play a role in regulating mouse populations. In the case of MVM, there was evidence of a viral epizootic during the decline in mouse abundance. The prevalence of four helminths (Taenia taeniaeformis, Syphacia obvelata, and Vampirolepis spp.) differed significantly with time but showed no apparent association with host density. These findings highlight the need for further study on the effect of viruses on the population dynamics of mice.

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References

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