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Military personnel serving in camp sites all over the world are often confronted with tropical diseases, many of which are rodent-borne. This study aimed at investigating the small mammal communities at three Northern Afghan military bases, determining the risk of rodent transfer to and from the bases and ultimately to define the risk of zoonotic infection in such installations.
Rodents were trapped in three military camp sites and investigated by analysis of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and D loop control region. The phylogeography was further determined by genetic analysis of a murine rhadinovirus infecting Afghan and European house mice.
Small mammals consisted mainly of Eastern house mice. Genetic analysis of mice and murine rhadinovirus points towards a recruitment of indigenous house mice in the bases.
The import of small mammals and their subsequent pathogens into Afghan military bases is unlikely. A detailed analysis of pathogens in these mammals with DNA microarray/next generation sequencing work-flow is in progress.