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Zhang Y.,The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region | Dai X.,The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region | Wang Q.,The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region | Chen H.,Qinghai Institute for Endemic Diseases Prevention and Control | And 10 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2015

Background: Plague, a zoonotic disease caused by Yersinia pestis, is characterized by its ability to persist in the plague natural foci. Junggar Basin plague focus was recently identified in China, with Rhombomys opimus (great gerbils) and Xenopsylla skrjabini as the main reservoir and vector for plague. No transmission efficiency data of X. skrjabini for Y. pestis is available till now. Methods: In this study, we estimated the median infectious dose (ID50) and the blockage rates of X. skrjabini with Y. pestis, by using artificial feeders. We then evaluated the flea transmission ability of Y. pestis to the mice and great gerbils via artificial bloodmeal feeding. Finally, we investigated the transmission of Y. pestis to mice with fleas fed by infected great gerbils. Results: ID50 of Y. pestis to X. skrjabini was estimated as 2.04 × 105 CFU (95% CI, 1.45 × 105 - 3.18 × 105 CFU), around 40 times higher than that of X. cheopis. Although fleas fed by higher bacteremia bloodmeal had higher infection rates for Y. pestis, they lived significantly shorter than their counterparts. X. skrjabini could get fully blocked as early as day 3 post of infection (7.1%, 3/42 fleas), and the overall blockage rate of X. cheopis was estimated as 14.9% (82/550 fleas) during the 14 days of investigation. For the fleas infected by artificial feeders, they seemed to transmit plague more efficiently to great gerbils than mice. Our single flea transmission experiments also revealed that, the transmission capacity of naturally infected fleas (fed by infected great gerbils) was significantly higher than that of artificially infected ones (fed by artificial feeders). Conclusion: Our results indicated that ID50 of Y. pestis to X. skrjabini was higher than other fleas like X. cheopis, and its transmission efficiency to mice might be lower than other flea vectors in the artificial feeding modes. We also found different transmission potentials in the artificially infected fleas and the naturally infected ones. Further studies are needed to figure out the role of X. skrjabini in the plague epidemiological cycles in Junggar Basin plague focus. © 2015 Zhang et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Source


Zhang Y.,The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region | Dai X.,The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region | Wang X.,The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region | Maituohuti A.,The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region | And 11 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Rhombomys opimus (great gerbil) is a reservoir of Yersinia pestis in the natural plague foci of Central Asia. Great gerbils are highly resistant to Y. pestis infection. The coevolution of great gerbils and Y. pestis is believed to play an important role in the plague epidemics in Central Asia plague foci. However, the dynamics of Y. pestis infection and the corresponding antibody response in great gerbils have not been evaluated. In this report, animal experiments were employed to investigate the bacterial load in both the liver and spleen of infected great gerbils. The dynamics of the antibody response to the F1 capsule antigen of Y. pestis was also determined. Methodology: Captured great gerbils that tested negative for both anti-F1 antibodies and bacterial isolation were infected subcutaneously with different doses (105 to 1011 CFU) of a Y. pestis strain isolated from a live great gerbil during routine plague surveillance in the Junggar Basin, Xinjiang, China. The clinical manifestations, changes in body weight, anal temperature, and gross anatomy of the infected animals were observed. The blood cell count, bacterial load, and anti-F1 antibody titers were determined at different time points after infection using a blood analyzer, plate counts, and an indirect hemagglutination assay, respectively. Conclusions/Significance: The dynamics of bacterial load and the anti-F1 antibody concentration in great gerbils are highly variable among individuals. The Y. pestis infection in great gerbils could persist as long as 15 days. They act as an appropriate reservoir for plague in the Junggar Basin, which is part of the natural plague foci in Central Asia. The dynamics of the Y. pestis susceptibility of great gerbil will improve the understanding of its variable resistance, which would facilitate the development of more effective countermeasures for controlling plague epidemics in this focus. © 2012 Zhang et al. Source

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