Studies on island populations of house mice (Mus domesticus) and their viruses reveal insights into viral persistence in isolated communities. We surveyed the ectoparasites, endoparasites, and antiviral antibodies for 11 murine viruses and two bacteria of house mice inhabiting two islands off Australia. House mice on Boullanger Island were seropositive to two viruses, murine cytomegalovirus and epizootic diarrhea of infant mice. On subantarctic Macquarie Island, house mice were seropositive for five viruses: murine cytomegalovirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, mouse parvovirus, epizootic diarrhea of infant mice, and Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus. The diversity of antiviral antibodies was lower among populations of house mice on islands than those inhabiting mainland Australia. The decreased diversity of viruses in island populations of house mice may be a function of which agent the founder mice transfer to the island and related to the low densities which the host population may periodically reach over time.
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Vol. 39 • No. 4