Host condition and individual risk of cowpox virus infection in natural animal populations

P. M. Beldomenico, Sandra Elizabeth Telfer, L. Lukomski, S. Gebert, M. Bennett, M. Begon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent studies have provided evidence that endemic pathogens may affect dynamics in animals. However, such studies have not typically considered that infected individuals might have a preceding underlying poor condition. We examined whether individuals in poor condition are more likely to become infected by an endemic pathogen, using as a system the dynamics of cowpox virus in field voles. With data from monthly sampled vole populations, a nested case-control study evaluated whether Susceptible individuals with poorer condition had higher probabilities of contracting cowpox. The influence of condition was found to be considerable, especially for males. At times when a susceptible male with good body condition had a relatively low probability of becoming infected., a susceptible male with poor body condition was twice as likely to contract cowpox; if this male was also anaemic, the chances were almost quadrupled. We discuss the care needed when interpreting the findings of wildlife disease studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1301
Number of pages7
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Volume137
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

Keywords

  • Cowpox
  • disease ecology
  • Microtus
  • population dynamics
  • wildlife disease
  • microtus-agrestis populations
  • field vole populations
  • reservoir hosts
  • survival
  • dependence
  • decreases
  • density
  • rodent
  • health
  • mice

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