The effects of cowpox virus on survival in natural rodent populations: increases and decreases

Authors

  • Sandra Telfer,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Biological Sciences, Nicholson Building, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK;
    2. Department of Veterinary Pathology, The University of Liverpool L69 3BX, UK; and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Malcolm Bennett,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathology, The University of Liverpool L69 3BX, UK; and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kevin Bown,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathology, The University of Liverpool L69 3BX, UK; and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Rachel Cavanagh,

    1. School of Biological Sciences, Nicholson Building, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK;
    2. Department of Veterinary Pathology, The University of Liverpool L69 3BX, UK; and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Laurent Crespin,

    1. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Banchory, Hill of Brathens, Banchory AB31 4BW, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Sarah Hazel,

    1. School of Biological Sciences, Nicholson Building, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK;
    2. Department of Veterinary Pathology, The University of Liverpool L69 3BX, UK; and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Trevor Jones,

    1. School of Biological Sciences, Nicholson Building, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK;
    2. Department of Veterinary Pathology, The University of Liverpool L69 3BX, UK; and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michael Begon

    1. School of Biological Sciences, Nicholson Building, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK;
    Search for more papers by this author

Sandra Telfer, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Leahurst Field Station, University of Liverpool, Chester High Road, Neston, Cheshire CH64 0TF, UK. Fax: 0151 7946005; E-mail: stelfer@liv.ac.uk

Summary

  • 1The effect of cowpox virus on survival in two rodent hosts was investigated using nearly 4 years of longitudinal data from two sites.
  • 2We investigated whether an individual's probability of infection influenced the probability of surviving the next month. We also investigated the effect at the population level, examining whether, in addition to seasonal effects, changes in cowpox prevalence explained further temporal variation in survival rates.
  • 3In bank voles, but not wood mice, individuals with high probabilities of infection survived better than uninfected animals.
  • 4At the level of the population, the effect of infection on survival varied through the year in both species. Survival rates in late summer increased with cowpox prevalence, whilst survival rates in winter decreased with cowpox prevalence.
  • 5We discuss why parasites such as cowpox virus may increase or decrease host survival and why the effect may depend on the time of year.

Ancillary