Rat-bites of an epidemic proportion in Peshawar vale; a GIS based approach in risk assessment
- 50 Downloads
Contemporary studies demonstrate that rodent bites do not occur frequently. However, a huge number of cases were reported from Peshawar vale, Pakistan during 2016. Two species, the local black rat Rattus rattus (Linnaeus, 1758) and the invasive brown rat Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769) might be the suspected cause. Several studies indicated the invasion of brown rats into Pakistan presumably via port city of Karachi. In this study, we modeled geospatial distribution of rodent bites for risk assessment in the region. Bite cases reported to tertiary care lady reading hospital were monitored from January 1 to August 31, 2016. Among 1747 cases, statistically informative data (n = 1295) was used for analyses. MaxEnt algorithm was employed for geospatial modeling, taking into account various environmental variables (temperature, precipitation, humidity, and elevation) and anthropogenic factors (human population density, distance from roads, distance from water channels, and land use/land cover). MaxEnt results revealed that urban slums (84.5%) are at highest risk followed by croplands (10.9%) and shrublands (2.7%). Anthropogenic factors affecting incidence of rodent bites included host density (contribution: 34.7), distance from water channels (3.2), land use/land cover (2.8), and distance from roads (2). Most of the cases occurred within a radius of 0.3 km from roads and 5 km from water channels. Rodent bite incidence is currently at its peak in Peshawar vale. Factors significantly affecting rodents’ bite activity and their distribution and dispersal include urbanization, distance from roads, and water channels. Further studies are needed to determine the impact of invasion by brown rat on bite incidence.
KeywordsRattus norvegicus MaxEnt Pakistan Rat bites
We are thankful to two BS students of Zoology Department University of Peshawar, Miss Seemab and Miss Sumaira, for data collection from Lady Reading Hospital of Peshawar. We are also thankful to Mr. Shahryar, photographer APP, for providing photographs of Peshawar City after a rainstorm.
SHF formulated methodology, carried out data analysis using GIS tools, and prepared the manuscript. FZ designed the study and prepared the manuscript. MA contributed in data acquisition. AA extended helped during the geospatial analysis. QJ collected and identified rat specimens. MK worked out the final draft of the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interests
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests.
Availability of data and materials
Our data is available on Mendeley Data online repository.
- Ahmad, E., Hussain, I., & Brooks, J. E. (1995). Losses of stored foods due to rats at grain markets in Pakistan. International biodeterioration & biodegradation, 36(1-2), 125–133.Google Scholar
- Baker, R. H. A., Sansford, C. E., Jarvis, C. H., Cannon, R. J. C., MacLeod, A., & Walters, K. F. A. (2000). The role of climatic mapping in predicting the potential geographical distribution of non-indigenous pests under current and future climates. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 82(1), 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Burke, V. D., & Johnson, K. A. (1975). U.S. Patent No. 3,906,656. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.Google Scholar
- Childs, J. E., McLafferty, S. L., Sadek, R., Miller, G. L., Khan, A. S., DuPree, E. R., & Glass, G. E. (1998). Epidemz rats (Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus). Urban Ecosystems, 17(1), 149–162.Google Scholar
- Colvin, B. A., & Jackson, W. B. (1999). Urban rodent control programs for the 21st century.Google Scholar
- Costa, F., Ribeiro, G. S., Felzemburgh, R. D., Santos, N., Reis, R. B., Santos, A. C., & Reis, M. G. (2014). Influence of household rat infestation on Leptospira transmission in the urban slum environment. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 8(12), e3338.Google Scholar
- Craig, T. (2016, April 5). As giant rats menace Pakistan, conspiracy theories swirl. The Washington Post.Google Scholar
- Ghalib, S. A., Jabbar, A. B. D. U. L., Khan, A. R., & Zehra, A. (2007). Current status of the mammals of Balochistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology, 39(2), 117.Google Scholar
- Gill, N., Khan, M. M., & Memon, M. S. (2003). Changes in blood parameters due to bladder worm (Cestoda) infection in liver of Rattus norvegicus. In Proceedings of the Pakistan Congress of Zoology, 23, 141–149.Google Scholar
- Gratz, N. G. (1999). Urbanization, arthropod and rodent pests and human health. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Urban Pests (pp. 19–22). Czech University of Agriculture, Prague, Czech Republic.Google Scholar
- Hussain, I. (1998). Susceptibility to anticoagulants and the development of physiological resistance in Rattus norvegicus and Bandicota bengalensis. Ph.D. Thesis, School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading, Reading Berkshire, U.K.Google Scholar
- Hussain, I., & Iqbal, M. A. (2002). Sampled from ration shops, Rawalpindi. Pakistan Journal of Zoology, 34(3), 239–242.Google Scholar
- Jarvis, A., Reuter, H. I., Nelson, A., & Guevara, E. (2008). Hole-filled seamless SRTM data V4. International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).Google Scholar
- Khan, H. (2016). Rat bite cases continue to spike in Peshawar. Pakistan: The Express Tribune.Google Scholar
- Kriticos, D. J., Webber, B. L., Leriche, A., Ota, N., Macadam, I., Bathols, J., & Scott, J. K. (2012). CliMond: global high resolution historical and future scenario climate surfaces for bioclimatic modelling. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 3, 53–64. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-210X.2011.00134.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Marsh R. E., (1994) Roof rats. The handbook: prevention and control of wildlife damage. Paper 6.Google Scholar
- Meehan, A. P. (1984). Rats and mice. Their biology and control. Rentokil Ltd..Google Scholar
- Mushtaq, M., Kayani, A. R., Nadeem, M. S., & Beg, M. A. (2014). Distribution Pattern of commensal rodents in shops of urban Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology, 46(6), 1585–1589.Google Scholar
- Rafique, A., Rana, S. A., Khan, H. A., & Sohail, A. (2009). Prevalence of some helminths in rodents captured from different city structures including poultry farms and human population of Faisalabad. Pakistan. Pakistan Vet. J, 29(3), 141–144.Google Scholar
- Roberts, T. J. (1997). The mammals of Pakistan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Rothe, K., Tsokos, M., & Handrick, W. (2015). Animal and human bite wounds. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 112(25), 433–42; quiz 443.Google Scholar
- Venette, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). Pest risk modelling and mapping for invasive alien species (vol. 7). CABI.Google Scholar
- White, J., Horskins, K., & Wilson, J. (1998). The control of rodent damage in Australian macadamia orchards by manipulation of adjacent non-crop habitats. Crop Protection, 17(4), 353–357.Google Scholar
- Young, N., Carter, L., & Evangelista, P. (2011). A MaxEnt model v3. 3.3 e tutorial (ArcGIS v10). Colorado: Fort Collins.Google Scholar
- Zareef, S., Nasim, S., Kalsoom, S., Jabeen, F., Javed, Z., Nadeem, M. S., & Beg, M. A. (2009). Occurrence of the Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus, in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Pakistan Journal of Zoology, 41(5), 415–416.Google Scholar