Date: 25 May 2012

Factors Affecting the Spread and Maintenance of Plague

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Plague is characterized by its potentially explosive spread during human epidemics and rodent epizootics. Recent research has suggested how this spread is likely to occur and what factors are associated with the onset of plague outbreaks and the continued spread of the disease. Among the apparent drivers of these outbreaks are climatic variables, host and vector densities, percolation thresholds, and the ability of many fleas to transmit efficiently soon after taking an infectious blood meal and before Yersinia pestis biofilm-related blockages appear in their guts. This presentation discusses each of these topics and their likely contribution to the rapid spread of plague to humans and in natural systems.