Dynamics of the plague–wildlife–human system in Central Asia are controlled by two epidemiological thresholds
Noelle I. Samia et al. in PNAS
Plague (caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis) is a zoonotic reemerging infectious disease with reservoirs in rodent populations worldwide. Using one-half of a century of unique data (1949–1995) from Kazakhstan on plague dynamics, including data on the main rodent host reservoir (great gerbil), main vector (flea), human cases, and external (climate) conditions, we analyze the full ecoepidemiological (bubonic) plague system. We show that two epidemiological threshold quantities play key roles: one threshold relating to the dynamics in the host reservoir, and the second threshold relating to the spillover of the plague bacteria into the human population.