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The 1993 U.S. hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) outbreak was attributed to environmental conditions and increased rodent populations caused by unusual weather in 1991- 92. In a case-control study to test this hypothesis, we estimated precipitation at 28 HPS and 170 control sites during the springs of 1992 and 1993 and compared it with precipitation during(More)
BACKGROUND Because of complex interactions of climate variables at the levels of the pathogen, vector, and host, the potential influence of climate change on vector-borne and zoonotic diseases (VBZDs) is poorly understood and difficult to predict. Climate effects on the nonvector-borne zoonotic diseases are especially obscure and have received scant(More)
We lack a clear understanding of the enzootic maintenance of the bacterium (Yersinia pestis) that causes plague and the sporadic epizootics that occur in its natural rodent hosts. A key to elucidating these epidemiological dynamics is determining the dominant transmission routes of plague. Plague can be acquired from the bites of infectious fleas (which is(More)
Plague is a vector-borne, highly virulent zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It persists in nature through transmission between its hosts (wild rodents) and vectors (fleas). During epizootics, the disease expands and spills over to other host species such as humans living in or close to affected areas. Here, we investigate the effect(More)
Climate may affect the dynamics of infectious diseases by shifting pathogen, vector, or host species abundance, population dynamics, or community interactions. Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are highly susceptible to plague, yet little is known about factors that influence the dynamics of plague epizootics in prairie dogs. We investigated(More)
Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague, has been detected in fleas and mammals throughout the western United States. This highly virulent infection is rare in humans, surveillance of the disease is expensive, and it often was assumed that risk of exposure to Y. pestis is high in most of the western United States. For these reasons, some local health(More)
Neglected Diseases R ecent experience with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) [1] and avian flu shows that the public and political response to threats from new anthropozoonoses can be near-hysteria. This can readily make us forget more classical animal-borne diseases, such as plague (Box 1). Three recent international meetings on plague (Box 2)(More)
The relationships between climatic variables and the frequency of human plague cases (1960-1997) were modeled by Poisson regression for two adjoining regions in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. Model outputs closely agreed with the numbers of cases actually observed, suggesting that temporal variations in plague risk can be estimated by(More)
Exposure to cats infected with Yersinia pestis is a recently recognized risk for human plague in the US. Twenty-three cases of cat-associated human plague (5 of which were fatal) occurred in 8 western states from 1977 through 1998, which represent 7.7% of the total 297 cases reported in that period. Bites, scratches, or other contact with infectious(More)
Plague is a highly virulent disease believed to have killed millions during three historic human pandemics. Worldwide, it remains a threat to humans and is a potential agent of bioterrorism. Dissemination of Yersinia pestis, the etiological agent of plague, by blocked fleas has been the accepted paradigm for flea-borne transmission. However, this mechanism,(More)