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Identification of SARS-CoV-2 in urban rodents from Southern Mexico City at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, there are some concerns about the situation and, in particular, about the future of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2. Rodents are an example of synanthropic animals in urban environments that harbor important zoonoses. Although the molecular identification of SARS-CoV-2 in Rattus norvegicus from New York City had been reported, in other studies, urban wild rodents infected with this virus have not been found. This study aimed to molecularly identify the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in urban wild rodents from Mexico City, trapped along a water channel of a public park as part of a pest control program, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the fall and winter of 2020. Up to 33 Mus musculus and 52 R. norvegicus were captured and euthanized, large intestine samples with feces from the animals were obtained. RNAs were obtained and subjected to qRT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 identification and threshold cycle (Ct) values were obtained. Four mice (12.1%) and three rats (5.8%) were positive, three rodents exhibited Ct<30. Our results on the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 in urban rats are in line with other previous reports. Thus, similar to other authors, we suggest that surveillance for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in urban wild rodents, as sentinel animals, should be maintained.

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