Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Forbes, Kristian

Committee Member/Reader

Allison, Neil

Committee Member/Second Reader

Beaulieu, Jeremy

Committee Member/Third Reader

Thallapuranam, Suresh Kumar


Zoonotic viruses are viruses that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Rodent species are likely to be reservoirs for zoonotic viruses, and particular rodent-borne viruses, such as orthohantaviruses, may greatly threaten human health. Orthohantaviruses are a group of rodent-borne viruses that are at risk for spillover to human populations. Many aspects of orthohantaviruses have been well-researched, yet the seasonality of orthohantaviruses has not yet been thoroughly examined, especially in the southern United States. In this study, we captured 616 rodents trapped over 5953 trap nights across 13 grassland sites in Northwest Arkansas. Rodents were trapped for two consecutive nights every other month from June-November 2020 and April-July 2021 and were screened for antibodies against orthohantaviruses. Seroprevalence was highest in the early summer, followed by autumn, late summer, and late spring. Seasonal fluctuations were largely shaped by rodent life history; seroprevalence was highest early in the year when the population consisted of adults from the previous year, decreased as previous-year adults died and were replaced by juveniles, and increased again as the juvenile population matured. These findings demonstrate the effect of seasonality and host life history on seropositivity of orthohantaviruses and shed light on the prevalence of orthohantaviruses in Arkansas.


seasonality, orthohantavirus, grassland, Arkansas, seroprevalence, disease ecology