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Maternal antibodies contribute to sex-based difference in hantavirus transmission dynamics.


ABSTRACT: Individuals often differ in their ability to transmit disease and identifying key individuals for transmission is a major issue in epidemiology. Male hosts are often thought to be more important than females for parasite transmission and persistence. However, the role of infectious females, particularly the transient immunity provided to offspring through maternal antibodies (MatAbs), has been neglected in discussions about sex-biased infection transmission. We examined the effect of host sex upon infection dynamics of zoonotic Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) in semi-natural, experimental populations of bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Populations were founded with either females or males that were infected with PUUV, whereas the other sex was immunized against PUUV infection. The likelihood of the next generation being infected was lower when the infected founders were females, underlying the putative importance of adult males in PUUV transmission and persistence in host populations. However, we show that this effect probably results from transient immunity that infected females provide to their offspring, rather than any sex-biased transmission efficiency per se. Our study proposes a potential contrasting nature of female and male hosts in the transmission dynamics of hantaviruses.

SUBMITTER: Kallio ER 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3871379 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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