U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 43(3), 2007, pp. 558–559


Infectious Diseases of Wild Rodents is a collection of reference material on a wide variety of infectious diseases documented in rodent species throughout the world. Editorially, this was a massive undertaking to provide a comprehensive and systematic coverage of the information on so many rodent species and infectious diseases in one volume. Although the information is not presented in much detail, the breadth of coverage makes this a good reference book for those interested in rodent diseases throughout the world. The information is presented in two different formats: disease information in the first part of the book is arranged by rodent species, and in the second part, by infectious diseases.

The first five sections contain lists of specific rodent genera and species from five continents and the infectious diseases found in them. This is followed by 18 sections on individual families of viral infections in wild rodents, 18 sections on specific infectious bacterial disease agents or groups of bacterial diseases, and six sections on fungal infections. Unfortunately, infectious parasitic diseases are not included. The book is well-indexed by rodent species and by specific diseases. Each section includes a number of references depending upon the availability of information; diseases of North American rodents have the most references (344), and Coronaviruses of rodents have the fewest references (7). The sources of the references vary from original publications to reference articles, chapters, or books. The index is organized by rodent genera and common names, and by disease or pathogen name, or genus and species of pathogen.

In the first part of the book, the rodent material is arranged by continent and within these sections, by family and genus of rodent. The amount of information for each genus or species of rodent varies depending upon how common the rodents are. Padovan includes the distribution of the rodents, some limited taxonomy, and a little information on behavior and habitat associations. The rodent information is followed by evidence of isolation of disease agents from, or specific antibody in, each rodent species and limited information on the disease. For some of the rodent species, the information is very brief. For example, ‘‘a hantavirus (Family Bunyaviridae) has been found in northern birch mice (Sicista betulina) in Russia’’; the citation for this is a book chapter. For more common rodents, such as species in the Peromyscus genus, there are multiple tables listing the disease agents found in each species and several pages of summary information about the diseases found in these rodent species. The descriptions appear to be accurate and the taxonomy of the rodents and pathogens correct. There are some redundancies in the descriptions of the rodent species that are unnecessary, for example, the statement, ‘‘Yersinia pestis, the cause of plague,’’ is repeated for multiple rodent descriptions instead of using the common name of plague following its original appearance.