Field #assessment of #insecticide #dusting and #bait station #treatment impact against #rodent #flea and house flea species in the #Madagascar #plague context (PLoS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

[Source: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Field assessment of insecticide dusting and bait station treatment impact against rodent flea and house flea species in the Madagascar plague context

Adélaïde Miarinjara  , Soanandrasana Rahelinirina , Nadia Lova Razafimahatratra, Romain Girod, Minoarisoa Rajerison , Sebastien Boyer

Published: August 6, 2019 / DOI: / This is an uncorrected proof.



Bubonic is the most prevalent plague form in Madagascar. Indoor ground application of insecticide dust is the conventional method used to control potentially infected rodent fleas that transmit the plague bacterium from rodents to humans. The use of bait stations is an alternative approach for vector control during plague epidemics, as well as a preventive control method during non-epidemic seasons. Bait stations have many advantages, principally by reducing the amount of insecticide used, lowering the cost of the treatment and minimizing insecticide exposure in the environment. A previous study reported promising results on controlling simultaneously the reservoir and vectors, when slow-acting rodenticide was incorporated in bait stations called “Boîtes de Kartman”. However, little evidence of an effective control of the fleas prior to the elimination of rodents was found. In this study, we evaluated bait stations containing insecticide powder and non-toxic attractive rodent bait for their potential to control rat fleas. Its efficacy was compared to the standard method. The impact of both methods on indoor and outdoor rodent fleas, as well as the human household flea Pulex irritans were analyzed at different time points after treatments. Bait stations did not cause any significant immediate or delayed reduction of rat fleas and increasing the number of operational bait stations per household did not significantly improve their efficacy. Insecticide ground dusting appeared to be the most efficient method to control indoor rat fleas. Both methods appeared to have little impact on the density of outdoor rat fleas and human fleas. These results demonstrate limited effectiveness for bait stations and encourage the maintenance of insecticide dusting as a first-line control strategy in case of epidemic emergence of plague, when immediate effect on rodent fleas is needed. Recommendations are given to improve the efficacy of the bait station method.


Author summary

Insecticide ground dusting inside houses is the recommended measure to control rat fleas responsible for bubonic plague transmission. The main inconvenience of this method is the direct contact of houseowners to the toxic insecticide dust and spillage in environment. A bait station approach, where the insecticide is confined in a box or tunnel containing rodent attractant, seems to be a valuable complementary or alternative vector control tool. However currently, little is known about its real efficacy on reducing or eliminating fleas harbored by rats. Guidelines regarding its implementation (density and duration of use) as vector control tool are lacking. Those questions were addressed during a field trial study, where bait stations were deployed at different densities per household and followed up at different time points. The efficacy of bait station was compared to the standard method. The present study allowed to demonstrate that bait station approach requires more improvements to be efficient. Meanwhile, insecticide ground dusting is still recommended for to control rat fleas during epidemics.


Citation: Miarinjara A, Rahelinirina S, Razafimahatratra NL, Girod R, Rajerison M, Boyer S (2019) Field assessment of insecticide dusting and bait station treatment impact against rodent flea and house flea species in the Madagascar plague context. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(8): e0007604.

Editor: José Reck Jr., Instituto de Pesquisas Veterinarias Desiderio Finamor, BRAZIL

Received: February 5, 2019; Accepted: July 4, 2019; Published: August 6, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Miarinjara et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: This work was supported and funded by Institut Pasteur de Madagascar. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Plague; Bubonic plague; Fleas; Rodents; Insecticides; Madagascar.



#Plague-Positive #Mouse #Fleas on Mice Before Plague Induced Die-Offs in Black-Tailed and White-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

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

Plague-Positive Mouse Fleas on Mice Before Plague Induced Die-Offs in Black-Tailed and White-Tailed Prairie Dogs

Gebbiena M. Bron, Carly M. Malavé, Jesse T. Boulerice, Jorge E. Osorio, and Tonie E. Rocke

Published Online: 17 Apr 2019 / DOI:



Plague is a lethal zoonotic disease associated with rodents worldwide. In the western United States, plague outbreaks can decimate prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) colonies. However, it is unclear where the causative agent, Yersinia pestis, of this flea-borne disease is maintained between outbreaks, and what triggers plague-induced prairie dog die-offs. Less susceptible rodent hosts, such as mice, could serve to maintain the bacterium, transport infectious fleas across a colony, or introduce the pathogen to other colonies, possibly facilitating an outbreak. Here, we assess the potential role of two short-lived rodent species, North American deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and Northern grasshopper mice (Onychomys leucogaster) in plague dynamics on prairie dog colonies. We live-trapped short-lived rodents and collected their fleas on black-tailed (Cynomys ludovicianus, Montana and South Dakota), white-tailed (Cynomys leucurus, Utah and Wyoming), and Utah prairie dog colonies (Cynomys parvidens, Utah) annually, from 2013 to 2016. Plague outbreaks occurred on colonies of all three species. In all study areas, deer mouse abundance was high the year before plague-induced prairie dog die-offs, but mouse abundance per colony was not predictive of plague die-offs in prairie dogs. We did not detect Y. pestis DNA in mouse fleas during prairie dog die-offs, but in three cases we found it beforehand. On one white-tailed prairie dog colony, we detected Y. pestis positive fleas on one grasshopper mouse and several prairie dogs live-trapped 10 days later, months before visible declines and plague-confirmed mortality of prairie dogs. On one black-tailed prairie dog colony, we detected Y. pestispositive fleas on two deer mice 3 months before evidence of plague was detected in prairie dogs or their fleas and also well before a plague-induced die-off. These observations of plague positive fleas on mice could represent early spillover events of Y. pestis from prairie dogs or an unknown reservoir, or possible movement of infectious fleas by mice.

Keywords: Yersinia pestis; Plague; Fleas; USA.