We studied hantavirus seroprevalence and virus variability in rodent populations in Diego Gaynor, northwest of Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Rodent samplings were conducted in railroads and cropfield borders in March and July 1999, September and December 2000, and March 2001. Antibody detection was performed by an enzyme link immunosorbent assay (ELISA), using the recombinant nucleoprotein of Andes (AND) virus as antigen. Tissue samples were taken from positive antibody individuals in order to confirm the presence of hantavirus genomic material and to identify virus genotypes. Akodon azarae was the most abundant species, followed by Oligoryzomys flavescens
, while Calomys laucha
and C. musculinus
were rarely caught. We found a rate of seroprevalence of 9.3% for a total sample of 291 A. azarae and 13.5% for 37 O. flavescens
. After molecular analyses of hantavirus, we confirmed the presence of hantavirus genomic material in 16 individuals with ELISA (+) results and two individuals with ELISA (-). Four amplimers for each species were sequenced and compared to the corresponding sequences of representative hantaviruses. We identified the AND Cent Lec from three O. flavescens
, and the Pergamino virus from four A. azarae and from one O. flavescens
. A. azarae males had higher seroprevalence than females, and heavier individuals showed higher seroprevalence than lighter ones. We did not find seroprevalence differences according to sex in O. flavescens
, although this result may have been produced by the low sample size. The lowest seroprevalence was found in a period of high rodent density, when juveniles prevailed in the population. We found higher seroprevalences than those detected in previous studies for other localities of central Argentina where cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) have been reported. The presence of AND Cent Lec virus in rodent populations of the study area, which is responsible of HPS cases in central Argentina, suggests that human populations are at risk of HPS disease, although there were not reported cases of this disease until today.