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Improving housing conditions reduces flea abundance and plague risk, says Adelaide Miarinjara

27.05.2024 14:00

Branco Weiss Fellow Adélaïde Miarinjara recently published a paper in the journal PLoS on her research into the ongoing risk of plague in the rural areas of Madagascar.

Dr. Miarinjara’s research aimed to identify socio-ecological risk factors associated with P. irritans infestation in rural households in plague-endemic areas of Madagascar. The team used a mixed-methods approach that combined flea sampling, household surveys, and observational data. They collected the samples and surveys in four rural villages within the plague-endemic Southeastern part of the Central Highlands of Madagascar. The study found that approximately one-third of households had high levels of P. irritans infestation, posing a significant risk of human-to-human plague transmission. This infestation was particularly associated with traditional houses with dirt floors covered with plant fiber mats.

Based on their findings, the research team suggests improving housing conditions and livestock management to reduce flea abundance and plague risk. In regions where resources for plague control are limited, it is even more important to understand the factors that contribute to flea infestation. Targeted interventions, such as improved flooring in homes and better housing for livestock, could significantly reduce the threat of plague in these communities. Dr. Miarinjara’s work highlights the need for continued research into the biology, ecology and vector competence of P. irritans.

To the paper publication: https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0012036