Survival, growth rates, body size and fertility of wild caught Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), infected and uninfected with a Hantavirus (antigenically related to Seoul virus), were compared. No differences were found in the survival of seronegative versus seropositive rats, as measured by mark–recapture experiments. Growth rates, as measured by weight gain but not by increased body length, were slower in seropositive, sexually mature (>200 g) rats, although no differences in the ultimate body size of infected versus uninfected rats were found. No differences in external measures of sexual maturity, or in embryo counts or testes sizes, were found for infected versus uninfected rats. We conclude that hantaviral infections have little or no impact on demographic processes in Norway rat populations.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4