Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (665 KB)

Title: Anthropogenic disturbance and the risk of flea-borne disease transmission

Author: Friggens, Megan M.; Beier, Paul;

Date: 2010

Source: Oecologia. 164: 809-820.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Anthropogenic disturbance may lead to the spread of vector-borne diseases through effects on pathogens, vectors, and hosts. Identifying the type and extent of vector response to habitat change will enable better and more accurate management strategies for anthropogenic disease spread. We compiled and analyzed data from published empirical studies to test for patterns among flea and small mammal diversity, abundance, several measures of flea infestation, and host specificity in 70 small mammal communities of five biomes and three levels of human disturbance: remote/wild areas, agricultural areas, and urban areas. Ten of 12 mammal and flea characteristics showed a significant effect of disturbance category (six), biome (four), or both (two). Six variables had a significant interaction effect. For mammal-flea communities in forest habitats (39 of the 70 communities), disturbance affected all 12 characteristics. Overall, flea and mammal richness were higher in remote versus urban sites. Most measures of flea infestation, including percent of infested mammals and fleas/mammal and fleas/mammal species increased with increasing disturbance or peaked at intermediate levels of disturbance. In addition, host use increased, and the number of specialist fleas decreased, as human disturbance increased. Of the three most common biomes (forest, grassland/savanna, desert), deserts were most sensitive to disturbance. Finally, sites of intermediate disturbance were most diverse and exhibited characteristics associated with increased disease spread. Anthropogenic disturbance was associated with conditions conducive to increased transmission of flea-borne diseases.

Keywords: global change, biodiversity, zoonotic disease, vector, emerging disease

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Friggens, Megan M.; Beier, Paul. 2010. Anthropogenic disturbance and the risk of flea-borne disease transmission. Oecologia. 164: 809-820.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.