Evidence of Yersinia pestis DNA from fleas in an endemic plague area of Zambia

Author(s): Dr. Bernard Hang’ombe

Yersinia pestis is a bacterium that causes plague which infects a variety of mammals throughout the world. The disease is usually transmitted among wild rodents through a flea vector. The sources and routes of transmission of plague are poorly researched in Africa, yet remains a concern in several sub-Saharan countries. In Zambia, the disease has been reported on annual basis with up to 20 cases per year, without investigating animal reservoirs or vectors that may be responsible in the maintenance and propagation of the bacterium. In this study, we undertook plague surveillance by using PCR amplification of the plasminogen activator gene in fleas.

 

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