While disease and injury have obvious impacts on mortality, they can have less understood non-lethal impacts on behavior. These behavioral effects might have a significant consequences for population-level disease dynamics if diseased individuals are more or less likely to disperse. We opportunistically observed dispersal events in banded mongooses (Mungos mungo) that were either healthy or unhealthy due to injury and/or clinical signs of a novel tuberculosis pathogen, Mycobacterium mungi. We found that diseased and/or injured mongooses were significantly less likely to disperse than healthy individuals, suggesting that disease may have an important consequences for dispersal that could in turn affect population-level disease dynamics.
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We thank Peter Laver for providing some of the observations in this analysis, as well as field assistance. We also thank Mark Vandewalle for field assistance, Jeff Walters for statistical assistance and comments on the manuscript, and Dustin Rubenstein, Dan Salkeld, and five anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript.
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Fairbanks, B.M., Hawley, D.M. & Alexander, K.A. The Impact of Health Status on Dispersal Behavior in Banded Mongooses (Mungos mungo). EcoHealth 11, 258–262 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-014-0912-4