Publications

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susceptibility to yersinia pestis in the northern grasshopper mouse (onychomys leucogaster).the laboratory-born progeny from two geographically distant populations of northern grasshopper mice (onychomys leucogaster) were challenged with yersinia pestis to determine their relative susceptibilities to plague. one of the o. leucogaster populations was associated with a known epizootic focus of the disease and was found to be nearly 2,000 times more resistant to mortality than were members of another population from an area historically free of plague. the ecology and omnivorous behavior ...19883373638
exposure of small rodents to plague during epizootics in black-tailed prairie dogs.plague, caused by the bacterium yersinia pestis, causes die-offs of colonies of prairie dogs (cynomys ludovicianus). it has been argued that other small rodents are reservoirs for plague, spreading disease during epizootics and maintaining the pathogen in the absence of prairie dogs; yet there is little empirical support for distinct enzootic and epizootic cycles. between 2004 and 2006, we collected blood from small rodents captured in colonies in northern colorado before, during, and for up to ...200818689662
prevalence of yersinia pestis in rodents and fleas associated with black-tailed prairie dogs (cynomys ludovicianus) at thunder basin national grassland, wyoming.rodents (and their fleas) that are associated with prairie dogs are considered important for the maintenance and transmission of the bacterium (yersinia pestis) that causes plague. our goal was to identify rodent and flea species that were potentially involved in a plague epizootic in black-tailed prairie dogs at thunder basin national grassland. we collected blood samples and ectoparasites from rodents trapped at off- and on-colony grids at thunder basin national grassland between 2002 and 2004 ...200818689663
scavenging by mammalian carnivores on prairie dog colonies: implications for the spread of plague.plague causes mass mortality of prairie dogs (cynomys ludovicianus) in shortgrass steppe. although the pathogen, the bacterium yersinia pestis, is spread within colonies by flea bites or contact between infected hosts, it is unclear how y. pestis is transported over long distances between isolated colonies. one possibility is that wideranging, plague-resistant mammalian carnivores pick up fleas when scavenging prairie dog carcasses. using guinea pigs as surrogates for prairie dogs, we compared h ...200918945188
evidence for the involvement of an alternate rodent host in the dynamics of introduced plague in prairie dogs.1. the introduction of plague to north america is a significant threat to colonies of prairie dogs (cynomys ludovicianus), a species of conservation concern in the great plains. other small rodents are exposed to the causative agent, yersinia pestis, during or after epizootics; yet, its effect on these rodents is not known, and their role in transmitting and maintaining plague in the absence of prairie dogs remains unclear. 2. we live-trapped small rodents and collected their fleas on 11 colonie ...200919302321
effects of weather and plague-induced die-offs of prairie dogs on the fleas of northern grasshopper mice.plague, the disease caused by the bacterium yersinia pestis, can have devastating impacts on black-tailed prairie dogs (cynomys ludovicianus ord). other mammal hosts living on prairie dog colonies may be important in the transmission and maintenance of plague. we examined the flea populations of northern grasshopper mice (onychomys leucogaster wied) before, during, and after plague epizootics in northern colorado and studied the influence of host and environmental factors on flea abundance patte ...200919496431
inferring host-parasite relationships using stable isotopes: implications for disease transmission and host specificity.identifying the roles of different hosts and vectors is a major challenge in the study of the ecology of diseases caused by multi-host pathogens. intensive field studies suggested that grasshopper mice (onychomys leucogaster) help spread the bacterium that causes plague (yersinia pestis) in prairie dog colonies by sharing fleas with prairie dogs (cynomys ludovicianus); yet conclusive evidence that prairie dog fleas (oropsylla hirsuta) feed on grasshopper mice is lacking. using stable nitrogen is ...200919967881
plague outbreaks in prairie dog populations explained by percolation thresholds of alternate host abundance.highly lethal pathogens (e.g., hantaviruses, hendra virus, anthrax, or plague) pose unique public-health problems, because they seem to periodically flare into outbreaks before disappearing into long quiescent phases. a key element to their possible control and eradication is being able to understand where they persist in the latent phase and how to identify the conditions that result in sporadic epidemics or epizootics. in american grasslands, plague, caused by yersinia pestis, exemplifies this ...201020660742
polymerase chain reaction (pcr) identification of rodent blood meals confirms host sharing by flea vectors of plague.elucidating feeding relationships between hosts and parasites remains a significant challenge in studies of the ecology of infectious diseases, especially those involving small or cryptic vectors. black-tailed prairie dogs (cynomys ludovicianus) are a species of conservation importance in the north american great plains whose populations are extirpated by plague, a flea-vectored, bacterial disease. using polymerase chain reaction (pcr) assays, we determined that fleas (oropsylla hirsuta) associa ...201021175944
experimentally induced plague infection in the northern grasshopper mouse (onychomys leucogaster) acquired by consumption of infected prey.in this study, 20 laboratory reared onychomys leucogaster from a parental population that is naturally exposed to plague were each fed a white mouse that had been inoculated with yersinia pestis. three of the 20 o. leucogaster died, four survived with antibody titers against y. pestis and 13 survived with no titer against y. pestis. in contrast, when 20 o. leucogaster from a plague naive parental population were fed infected prey, seven died and 13 survived with no antibody titer against y. pest ...19892810547
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