In recent years several tropical diseases have emerged in response to multiple factors, both environmental and socioeconomic. There is evidence that the loss of natural forests and human actions lead to defaunation and species substitution, which can affect trophic interactions and even disease outbreaks. In relation to trophic interactions, wild carnivores tend to feed more on prey from the matrix in degraded areas than in preserved areas. These prey are often small mammals, which can transmit different types of viruses to humans, featuring a serious environmental disservice. Evidence suggests that the main factors that result in zoonosis outbreaks are related to climatic, socioeconomic aspects, landscape structure and presence of reservoir animals and their predators. Investigate these aspects can contribute much to environmental planning and disease prevention. This project seeks to answer the following questions: 1) How communities of rodents and bats - relevant groups for hantavirus - respond to the landscape structure? 2) What is the influence of diversity and landscape structure on viral prevalence in bats and rodents? 3) Does the diet of predators of such reservoirs varies along a native habitat loss gradient? and 4) What are the ecological correlates of hantavirus in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest? We will use six relevant focal species for hantavirus: rodents Oligoryzomis nigripes, Necromis lasiurus, Akodon montensis and Calomys tener and bats Artibeus planirostris and Desmodus rotundus. We will analyze data from the literature collected by us with an approach of hierarchical models and path analysis. Our expectation is that landscape structure will influence the presence of bats, the presence of rodents and viral prevalence. Regarding the viral incidence, our predictions are that areas with 1) predominance of agricultural matrix, 2) more contact areas between favorable matrix for reservoirs and remaining vegetation and 3) greater amount of people at risk are those who do the best predictions of hantavirus incidences. Project results are expected to generate subsidies for environmental and health policies, pointing out areas of risk and its relationship with environmental conservation.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: