Exposure to #Rats and Rat-Associated #Leptospira and #Bartonella Species Among People Who Use #Drugs in an Impoverished, Inner-City Neighborhood of #Vancouver, Canada (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

[Source: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

Exposure to Rats and Rat-Associated Leptospira and Bartonella Species Among People Who Use Drugs in an Impoverished, Inner-City Neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada

To cite this article: McVea David A., Himsworth Chelsea G., Patrick David M., Lindsay L. Robbin, Kosoy Michael, and Kerr Thomas. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. January 2018, ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2017.2179

Online Ahead of Print: January 3, 2018

Author information: David A. McVea,1,* Chelsea G. Himsworth,1,2,* David M. Patrick,1 L. Robbin Lindsay,3 Michael Kosoy,4 and Thomas Kerr5,6

1School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. 2BC Node, Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Abbotsford, Canada. 3National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, Canada. 4Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado. 5British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Providence Health Care, Vancouver, Canada. 6Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

*These authors contributed equally to this work.

Address correspondence to: Chelsea G. Himsworth, School of Population and Public Health, University of British ColumbiaVancouver V6T 1Z3, British Columbia, Canada
E-mail: chelsea.himsworth@gov.bc.ca



Rat infestations are common, particularly in impoverished, inner-city neighborhoods. However, there has been little research into the nature and consequences of rat exposure in these neighborhoods, particularly in Canada. In this study, we sought to characterize exposure to rats and rat-associated Leptospira interrogans and Bartonella tribocorum, as well as risk factors associated with exposure, in residents (n = 202) of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada. There was no evidence of exposure to rat-associated L. interrogans but 6/202 (3.0%) of participants were exposed to B. tribocorum, which is known to be circulating among DTES rats. We also found that frequent and close rat exposure was common among DTES residents, and that this exposure was particularly associated with injection drug use and outdoor income-generating activities (e.g., drug dealing). These risk factors may be good targets for interventions geared toward effectively reducing rat exposure.

Keywords: Illicit Drugs Users; Bartonella spp.; Leptospira spp.



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I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.

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