Epizootiology of tacaribe serocomplex viruses (Arenaviridae) associated with neotomine rodents (Cricetidae, Neotominae) in Southern California

Mary Louise Milazzo, Maria N.B. Cajimat, Matthew R. Mauldin, Stephen G. Bennett, Barry D. Hess, Michael P. Rood, Christopher A. Conlan, Kiet Nguyen, J. Wakoli Wekesa, Ronald D. Ramos, Robert D. Bradley, Charles F. Fulhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to advance our knowledge of the epizootiology of Bear Canyon virus and other Tacaribe serocomplex viruses (Arenaviridae) associated with wild rodents in California. Antibody (immunoglobulin G [IgG]) to a Tacaribe serocomplex virus was found in 145 (3.6%) of 3977 neotomine rodents (Cricetidae: Neotominae) captured in six counties in southern California. The majority (122 or 84.1%) of the 145 antibody-positive rodents were big-eared woodrats (Neotoma macrotis) or California mice (Peromyscus californicus). The 23 other antibody-positive rodents included a white-throated woodrat (N. albigula), desert woodrat (N. lepida), Bryant's woodrats (N. bryanti), brush mice (P. boylii), cactus mice (P. eremicus), and deer mice (P. maniculatus). Analyses of viral nucleocapsid protein gene sequence data indicated that Bear Canyon virus is associated with N. macrotis and/or P. californicus in Santa Barbara County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, and western Riverside County. Together, analyses of field data and antibody prevalence data indicated that N. macrotis is the principal host of Bear Canyon virus. Last, the analyses of viral nucleocapsid protein gene sequence data suggested that the Tacaribe serocomplex virus associated with N. albigula and N. lepida in eastern Riverside County represents a novel species (tentatively named ''Palo Verde virus'') in the genus Arenavirus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-166
Number of pages11
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Arenaviridae
  • Arenavirus
  • Bear Canyon virus
  • Cricetidae
  • Neotoma albigula
  • Neotoma lepida
  • Neotoma macrotis
  • Palo Verde virus
  • Peromyscus californicus
  • Tacaribe serocomplex


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