Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Suzan et al (2009) reflection

The spread of disease is one of the most prominent global environmental issues in ecology and has consequences in politics, economy and health. Hantavirus, causes of hemorrhagic fevor and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in Asia, Europe and the America, can be transmitted directly through inhalation of aerosolized viruses or contact to a variety of rodent species. In the study done by Suzan et al. (2009; PLoS one:4(5) e5461), they looked at how species diversity plays a role on the Hantavirus in Southern Panama. They measured the amount of antibodies to the SNV nucleocapsid antigen found in the blood. They predicted that in areas of high species diversity, there will be a reduction Hantavirus pathogen. They found that as they removed non-reservoir species, that both the abundance and prevalence of Hantavirus increased. They also found, as the abundance of the reservoir species increased, in the removal sites, the prevalence of Hantavirus also increased. Therefore, high diversity regulated the abundance of of the primary reservoir species and reduces pathogen transmission and disease-risk. An increase in diversity can be an ecosystem service by keeping disease transmission low. By keeping diversity high in areas, the risk of the spread of diseases is low and therefore the risk to spread diseased to humans can be low also.

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