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Rodents are mammals that comprise more than 2000 species and approximately 30 families. There are many morphological and ecological differences among them as variations in their shape, size, weight and habitat. In addition to significant economic losses, rodents have a major role in the dissemination of infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites or other micro-organisms. Rodents are important reservoirs of diseases which have been observed in many cities of Iran provinces especially along Caspian Sea border to Alborz Mountain. The aim of this study is to assess the geographical distribution of rodents in three provinces of northern part of Iran as reservoir of potential endemic infectious diseases. Rodents in 10 major parts of each of the three provinces of Mazandaran, Gilan and Golestan, northern Iran were collected and a total of 404 rodents were trapped alive. They were determined by the key characteristics such as gender, genus, species, different locations and topological situation. Statistical analysis was performed to characterize the study sample and to correlate all variables and parameters. The distribution frequencies of three, five and six genera of rodents were identified in Mazandaran, Gilan and Golestan provinces respectively. The overall distribution frequency of eight genera of rodents in the three provinces were identified as Rattus (R.) norvegicus (67.3%), R. rattus (13.6%), Apodemus sylvaticus (13.9%), Arvicola (1%), Mus musculus (0.3%), Nesokia indica (2.5%), Cricetulus migrates (0.7%) and Rhombomys opimus (0.7%). The results of this study determined the geographic distribution of the rodents in the three northern provinces of Iran. It is indicated the association of various distribution and diversity of rodents with provincial location. The overall distribution frequency of eight genera of rodents was recognized in the above three provinces geographical locations. This study confirms epidemiological distribution of various rodents as potent reservoirs for infectious diseases, such as leptospirosis, salmonellosis, tularemia, leishmaniasis, etc. in the three provinces.
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