Seasonal dynamics of epizootic process of the plague agent Yersinia pestis transmission to the long-tailed suslik Citellus undulatus by the flea Citellophilus tesquorum in Tuva
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Transmission of Yersinia pestis to the long-tailed suslik (Citellus undulatus) by fleas (Citellophilus tesquorum) in the Tuva natural plague focus in different seasons (spring, summer, and autumn) was studied experimentally. Between feeding periods, insects were kept in an artificial nest under temperature and humidity closely corresponding to seasonal ones. The character of the agent transmission was estimated according to the fraction of fleas with the agent in the aggregated state (bacterial lumps, partial blocks of proventriculus), the fraction of blocked individuals, and the fraction of infected susliks and of those with the generalized form of infection. Seasonal dynamics of epizootic process of the Y. pestis transmission corresponded to the results obtained in the epizootic examination of the Tuva natural plague focus and reflected the dynamics of the epizootic process (increase-peak-decline). The activity of the formation of a proventriculus block in C. t. altaicus, the infection ability of the fleas, and the sensitivity of long-tailed Siberian susliks to Y. pestis were the highest in mid-summer (July-first ten days of August), during the period of epizooty activation in the focus. The maximal number of C. t. altaicus with the plague agent at the aggregated state was observed in the cold period, before wintering of insects and after their hibernation.
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