Occurrence of Hantavirus in rodents found in communities neighbouring Volcanoes National Park-Rwanda
Tumushime, Jean Claude
MetadataShow full item record
Hantaviruses are one of the most important groups of viruses that are carried by rodent species with pathogenic strains that can cause life-threatening diseases in humans. The study was conducted to determine the presence and prevalence of hantaviruses in rodents around the Volcanoes National Park (VNP) ecosystem, Rwanda. A total of 260 rodents were humanely trapped and captured using Tomahawk traps from human dwellings and crop fields between November-2017 and January 2019. The captured rodents were identified, sampled, and released back to their respective capture locations. 260 rectal swabs from 260 captured rodents were tested using Conventional Polymerase Chain Reaction. Six species of rodents were identified namely Rattus rattus, Crocidura spp, Oenomys hypoxanthus, Praomys Jacksoni, Lemniscomys striatus and Otomys tropicalis distributed across the study allocations. Eleven (11) samples were positive to hantavirus with overall prevalence of 4.2 % (11/260). Positive samples to hantavirus were only found in Rattus rattus. Males were approximately four times more likely to have hantaviruses 7.3% (8/110) as compared to females 2.0% (3/150), (aOR=4.05, P=0.044). Samples collected during the dry season 6.3% (5/79) were approximately two times more likely to have hantaviruses as compared to those of wet season 3.3% (6/181), (aOR=1.82, P=0.043). The findings of the study confirmed hantavirus only in Rattus rattus. The results highlight the potential risk for the zoonotic transmission of hantavirus to people interacting directly and indirectly with carrier rodents. The study, therefore, recommends public health measures at the community level to include rodent control, proper storage of crop produces, proper hygiene and sanitation, and awareness campaigns using one health approach. Further research should be undertaken to establish the dynamics of hantaviruses in different species within the same ecosystem to inform policy intervention measures.