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Title: An investigation of disease reservoirs in complex ecosystems : rabies and canine distemper in the Serengeti
Author: Lembo, Tiziana
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This study examines all the available evidence for reservoirs of rabies in the Serengeti and presents data on the temporal and spatial dynamics of CDV in domestic and wild carnivores (dogs and lions [Panthera leo]) to help understand the long-term patterns of infection in the two populations. Examination by molecular phylogenies of the genetic characteristics of RABVs isolated from a range of species revealed one single major variant belonging to the group of southern Africa canid-associated viruses (Africa1b), a high degree of genetic relatedness among viruses with no evidence for distinct virus-host associations, and patterns consistent with dog-to-other species routes of transmission. Overall, these analyses point to the domestic dog being responsible for supporting the cycle of a single virus variant in the ecosystem. Rabies incidence data available from the Serengeti (1991-2005) and data on the genetic characteristics of the virus where then used to draw conclusions on reservoirs of infection: domestic dog populations occurring at high densities were the only population essential for persistence, whereas other carnivores contributed to the reservoir as non-maintenance components. Infection patterns in unvaccinated dog and lion populations could control infection provided that vaccination coverage was maintained. Circulation in lions did not appear to occur in the absence of infection in dogs, suggesting that dogs may be the only source of infection. The lack of evidence for long-term persistence in any population suggests that no singe population may be capable of independent maintenance, but a network of populations may constitute a maintenance community. Finally, the overall results are discussed in relation to the surveillance of rabies and the design of appropriate control strategies for rabies and CDV.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available