Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / The role of rodents and small carnivores in plague endemicity in Tanzania

Bukheti Kilonzo, Julius Mhina, Christopher Sabuni, and Georgies Mgode (2005)

The role of rodents and small carnivores in plague endemicity in Tanzania


Between 1974 and 2003, blood samples were collected from wild and commensal rodents, and wild and domestic small carnivores in selected villages of seven districts in Tanzania that have experienced human plague Outbreaks and seven districts that have not experienced any outbreak of the disease. The samples were tested for antibodies against Yersinia pestis Fraction I antigen, using passive haemagglutination (PHA) or ELISA tests. Of the 3354 rodents and 558 small carnivores from the plague infected districts, 122 (3.6\%) rodents (captured in Mbulu and Lushoto districts) were plague positive; 29 (5.2\%) small carnivores from Mbulu, Arumeru, Hai and Lushoto districts were plague positive, 28 of these were domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). PCR tests showed that 17.5\% of 211 rodents tested from Lushoto contained Y. pestis DNA. In the non-infected districts, 1545 rodents and 171 domestic dogs were tested. 11 (0.7\%) of the rodents (captured in Monduli, Chunya and Masasi districts) were plague-positive. In Masasi district, 10.4\% (7/67) of the rodents and 43.6\% (17/39) of the dogs were positive for anti-Y. pestis IgG. It was concluded that wild and commensal rodents as well as wild and domestic small carnivores play a potential role as reservoirs and/or carriers of sylvatic plague in Tanzania, and that the disease exists in areas where human plague outbreaks have not occurred before. In order to update the distribution of the disease it is proposed that further epidemiological Surveillance activities are established.

rodents; small carnivores; plague; passive haemagglutination; ELISA; PCR
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology