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The prevalence of viral antibodies during a large population fluctuation of house mice in Australia

  • G. R. SINGLETON (a1), A. L. SMITH (a2) and C. J. KREBS (a3)

Abstract

We studied the seroprevalence of three viruses (mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV), minute virus of mice (MVM), and mouse parvovirus (MPV)) in house mice (Mus domesticus) in 1995–7. In the first year average mouse density was less than 1 mouse/ha. From November 1995 to May 1996 the population increased at an average rate of 7% per week, a doubling time of about 10 weeks. From August 1996 to May 1997 the population increased at an average rate of 10% per week, a doubling time of about 7·5 weeks. From a peak around 250 mice/ha in May 1997, the mouse population fell 19% per week to 5 mice/ha in October 1997. The seroprevalence for all three viruses varied dramatically over time. MCMV had the highest seroprevalence (61·7%), followed by MVM (8·5%) and MPV (18·4%). Time series data indicated that MCMV spread rapidly through the population of mice once trap success was greater than 14% (40–100 mice/ha). By contrast MVM and MPV seroprevalence occurred with a 2–3 month and 3–4 month time lag, respectively. The current study supports the contention that MCMV would be a good carrier for an immunocontraceptive vaccine for controlling field populations of mice.

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