sábado, 28 de noviembre de 2009

Wild Felids as Hosts for Human Plague | CDC EID

EID Journal Home > Volume 15, Number 12–December 2009

Volume 15, Number 12–December 2009
Wild Felids as Hosts for Human Plague, Western United States
Sarah N. Bevins, Jeff A. Tracey, Sam P. Franklin, Virginia L. Schmit, Martha L. MacMillan, Kenneth L. Gage, Martin E. Schriefer, Kenneth A. Logan, Linda L. Sweanor, Mat W. Alldredge, Caroline Krumm, Walter M. Boyce, Winston Vickers, Seth P.D. Riley, Lisa M. Lyren, Erin E. Boydston, Robert N. Fisher, Melody E. Roelke, Mo Salman, Kevin R. Crooks, and Sue VandeWoude
Author affiliations: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (S.N. Bevins, J.A. Tracey, S.P. Franklin, V.L. Schmit, M.L. MacMillan, L.L. Sweanor, C. Krumm, M. Salman, K.R. Crooks, S. VandeWoude); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins (K.L. Gage, M.E. Schriefer); Colorado Division of Wildlife, Montrose, Colorado, USA (K.A. Logan, M.W. Alldredge); University of California, Davis, California, USA (W.M. Boyce, W. Vickers); National Park Service, Thousand Oaks, California, USA (S.P.D. Riley); United States Geological Survey, Irvine, California, USA (L.M. Lyren, E.E. Boydston, R. Fisher); and National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA (M.E. Roelke)

Suggested citation for this article

Plague seroprevalence was estimated in populations of pumas and bobcats in the western United States. High levels of exposure in plague-endemic regions indicate the need to consider the ecology and pathobiology of plague in nondomestic felid hosts to better understand the role of these species in disease persistence and transmission.

Zoonotic pathogens account for ≈60% of emerging diseases (1,2). Yersinia pestis, a vector-borne bacterium and the causative agent of plague in mammals, is 1 such emergent pathogen (3). Plague is maintained among rodent hosts and their fleas; however, spillover into accidental hosts can result in severe illness and death, as well as geographic spread of the disease (4).

Domestic cats are a major source of human plague infections in the United States (5), putting veterinary workers and pet owners at risk for Y. pestis infections. During 1924–2006, a total of 13 human cases of primary pneumonic plague were documented in the United States, and >5 were associated with felids (D. Wong, pers. comm.). Twelve cases of plague transmission from nondomestic carnivores to humans have been documented (5–7), including a fatal case of human pneumonic plague in 2007 that resulted from direct contact with an infected puma (Puma concolor) (8). Despite the known association of felids with human plague, the prevalence of Y. pestis infection in nondomestic cats remains relatively unknown.

Pumas and bobcats (Lynx rufus) are 2 of the most widespread felids in North American, with pumas having the greatest range of any wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere (9). Both species inhabit large territories and travel great distances during dispersal (9,10). These highly mobile animals may periodically reintroduce Y. pestis–positive fleas to distant regions, especially during epizootics (11). Consequently, carnivore-aided flea dispersal could play an important role in the spread and persistence of plague during interepizootic periods.

We examined plague exposure in populations of bobcats and pumas in California and Colorado. This gave us an opportunity to evaluate Y. pestis seroprevalence in multiple difficult-to-sample, plague-susceptible felid species across a wide geographic area.

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