Contribution of land use to rodent flea load distribution in the plague endemic area of Lushoto District, Tanzania

  • Proches Hieronimo Sokoine University of Agriculture Department of Agric Eng & Land Planning P.O.Box 3003, Morogoro
  • Nganga I. Kihupi Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3003, Morogoro
  • Didas N. Kimaro Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3003, Morogoro
  • Hubert Gulinck Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, Leuven
  • Balthazar M. Msanya Department of Soil Science, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3008, Morogoro
  • Herwig Leirs Evolutionary Ecology Group, Universiteit Antwerpen, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerpen
  • Jozef A. Deckers Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, Leuven
Keywords: plague, land use, rodent, fleas, Tanzania

Abstract

Fleas associated with different rodent species are considered as the major vectors of bubonic plague, which is still rampant in different parts of the world. The objective of this study was to investigate the contribution of land use to rodent flea load distribution at fine scale in the plague endemic area of north-eastern Tanzania. Data was collected in three case areas namely, Shume, Lukozi and Mwangoi, differing in plague incidence levels. Data collection was carried out during both wet and dry seasons of 2012. Analysis of Variance and Boosted Regression Tree (BRT) statistical methods were used to clarify the relationships between fleas and specific land use characteristics. There was a significant variation (P ≤ 0.05) of flea indices in different land use types. Fallow and natural forest had higher flea indices whereas plantation forest mono-crop and mixed annual crops had the lowest flea indices among the aggregated land use types. The influence of individual land use types on flea indices was variable with fallow having a positive effect and land tillage showing a negative effect. The results also demonstrated a seasonal effect, part of which can be attributed to different land use practices such as application of pesticides, or the presence of grass strips around fields. These findings suggest that land use factors have a major influence on rodent flea abundance which can be taken as a proxy for plague infection risk. The results further point to the need for a comprehensive package that includes land tillage and crop type considerations on one hand and the associated human activities on the other, in planning and implementation of plague control interventions.

Author Biography

Proches Hieronimo, Sokoine University of Agriculture Department of Agric Eng & Land Planning P.O.Box 3003, Morogoro
ASSISTANT LECTURER, LAND USE PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
Published
2014-07-13
How to Cite
HieronimoP., KihupiN. I., KimaroD. N., GulinckH., MsanyaB. M., LeirsH., & DeckersJ. A. (2014). Contribution of land use to rodent flea load distribution in the plague endemic area of Lushoto District, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 16(3). https://doi.org/10.4314/thrb.v16i3.10
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1821-9241
print ISSN: 1821-6404