Home > Global > Threshold Conditions for the Persistence of Plague Transmission in Urban Rats.

Threshold Conditions for the Persistence of Plague Transmission in Urban Rats.

Risk Anal. 2009 Oct 29

Threshold Conditions for the Persistence of Plague Transmission in Urban Rats.

Durham DP, Casman EA. Department of Engineering & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA.

In this article we derive a mathematical expression characterizing the tendency for Yersinia pestis, the etiologic agent of plague, to become established in an urban rat population upon introduction, and evaluate this risk for several cities. The expression gives a threshold condition for the persistence of Y. pestis transmission in terms of measurable attributes of a local urban rat population: the average flea density and the rat colony size. If the local rat and flea populations exceed this threshold, plague circulation is predicted to continue; if not, it will burn out of its own accord. This expression may be used to evaluate both the vulnerability of a specific neighborhood and the effect of pest control strategies upon that vulnerability.

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