Individuals are often co-infected with several parasite species, yet measuring within-host interactions remains difficult in the wild. Consequently, the impacts of such interactions on host fitness and epidemiology are often unknown. We used anthelmintic drugs to experimentally reduce nematode infection and measured the effects on both nematodes and the important zoonosis Sin Nombre virus (SNV) in its primary reservoir (Peromyscus spp.). Treatment significantly reduced nematode infection, but increased SNV seroprevalence. Furthermore, mice that were co-infected with both nematodes and SNV were in better condition and survived up to four times longer than uninfected or singly infected mice. These results highlight the importance of investigating multiple parasites for understanding interindividual variation and epidemiological dynamics in reservoir populations with zoonotic transmission potential.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sin Nombre virus
- disease control
- gastrointestinal nematodes
- reservoir host