Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Argentine Hemorrhagic Fever

A hemorrhagic fever caused by the Junin RNA virus and transmitted by contact with the excreta of vesper mice (Calomys musculinus or C. laucha). The virus is deposited into maize farmers’ homes in urine when the rodents’ natural grassland habitat is cleared and maize is planted. AHF is a significant disease in South America. Clearing of the pampas for the exclusive use of maize planting has expanded the rodents’ range. The use of herbicides drastically reduced the natural weeds, and this in turn reduced the local snake populations and favored rodent overpopulation.

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