etidioh · Aug 10, 2017

Small-Scale Die-Offs in #Woodrats Support Long-Term Maintenance of #Plague in the #US Southwest (Vector Borne Zoo Dis, abstract)

(Source: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.)

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

Small-Scale Die-Offs in Woodrats Support Long-Term Maintenance of Plague in the U.S. Southwest

To cite this article:

Kosoy Michael, Reynolds Pamela, Bai Ying, Sheff Kelly, Enscore Russell E., Montenieri John, Ettestad Paul, and Gage Kenneth. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. August 2017, ahead of print.

Online Ahead of Print: August 9, 2017

Author information: Michael Kosoy,1 Pamela Reynolds,2 Ying Bai,1 Kelly Sheff,1 Russell E. Enscore,1 John Montenieri,1 Paul Ettestad,2 and Kenneth Gage1

1Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado. 2New Mexico Department of Health, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

© Michael Kosoy et al. 2017; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Address correspondence to: Michael Kosoy, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO 80521, E-mail:


Our longitudinal study of plague dynamics was conducted in north-central New Mexico to identify which species in the community were infected with plague, to determine the spatial and temporal patterns of the dynamics of plague epizootics, and to describe the dynamics of Yersinia pestis infection within individual hosts. A total of 3156 fleas collected from 535 small mammals of 8 species were tested for Y. pestis DNA. Nine fleas collected from six southern plains woodrats (Neotoma micropus) and from one rock squirrel (Otospermophilus variegatus) were positive for the pla gene of Y. pestis. None of 127 fleas collected from 17 woodrat nests was positive. Hemagglutinating antibodies to the Y. pestis-specific F1 antigen were detected in 11 rodents of 6 species. All parts of the investigated area were subjected to local disappearance of woodrats. Despite the active die-offs, some woodrats always were present within the relatively limited endemic territory and apparently were never exposed to plague. Our observations suggest that small-scale die-offs in woodrats can support maintenance of plague in the active U.S. Southwestern focus.

Keywords: Plague; Yersinia Pestis; USA; New Mexico; Wildlife.


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