The number of documented American orthohantaviruses has increased significantly over recent decades, but most fundamental research has remained focused on just two of them: Andes virus (ANDV) and Sin Nombre virus (SNV). The majority of American orthohantaviruses are known to cause disease in humans, and most of these pathogenic strains were not described prior to human cases, indicating the importance of understanding all members of the virus clade. In this review, we summarize information on the ecology of under-studied rodent-borne American orthohantaviruses to form general conclusions and highlight important gaps in knowledge. Information regarding the presence and genetic diversity of many orthohantaviruses throughout the distributional range of their hosts is minimal and would significantly benefit from virus isolations to indicate a reservoir role. Additionally, few studies have investigated the mechanisms underlying transmission routes and factors affecting the environmental persistence of orthohantaviruses, limiting our understanding of factors driving prevalence fluctuations. As landscapes continue to change, host ranges and human exposure to orthohantaviruses likely will as well. Research on the ecology of neglected orthohantaviruses is necessary for understanding both current and future threats to human health.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited