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A model for leptospire dynamics and control in the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) the reservoir host in urban slum environments

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Amanda Minter
  • Peter J. Diggle
  • Federico Costa
  • James Childs
  • Albert I. Ko
  • Mike Begon
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2018
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)26-34
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date5/05/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Leptospirosis is a zoonosis that humans can contract via contact with animal reservoirs directly or with water contaminated with their urine. The primary reservoir of pathogenic leptospires within urban slum environments is the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus). Motivated by the annual outbreaks of human leptospirosis in slum urban settings, the within population infection dynamics of the Norway rat were investigated in Pau da Lima, an community in Salvador, Brazil. A mechanistic model of the dynamics of leptospire infection was informed by extensive field and laboratory data was developed and explored analytically. To identify the intraspecific transmission route of most importance, a global sensitivity analysis of the basic reproduction number to its components was performed. In addition, different methods of rodent control were investigated by calculating target reproduction numbers. Our results suggest environmental transmission plays an important role in the maintenance of infection in the rodent population. To control numbers of wild Norway rats, combinations of controls are recommended but environmental control should also be investigated to reduce prevalence of infection in rats.