Publication
Title
Climatically driven synchrony of gerbil populations allows large-scale plague outbreaks
Author
Abstract
In central Asia, the great gerbil (Rhombomys opimus) is the main host for the bacterium Yersinia pestis, the cause of bubonic plague. In order to prevent plague outbreaks, monitoring of the great gerbil has been carried out in Kazakhstan since the late 1940s. We use the resulting data to demonstrate that climate forcing synchronizes the dynamics of gerbils over large geographical areas. As it is known that gerbil densities need to exceed a threshold level for plague to persist, synchrony in gerbil abundance across large geographical areas is likely to be a condition for plague outbreaks at similar large scales. Here, we substantiate this proposition through autoregressive modelling involving the normalized differentiated vegetation index as a forcing covariate. Based upon predicted climate changes, our study suggests that during the next century, plague epizootics may become more frequent in central Asia.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: biological sciences
Publication
2007
Volume/pages
274:1621(2007), p. 1963-1969
ISI
000247906800006
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 24.02.2012
Last edited 07.09.2017