Scientists warn of ‘perfect storm’ for outbreak of human plague

Scientists have warned massive agricultural expansion in Tanzania could lead to a ‘perfect storm’ for human plague transmission by encouraging an increase in the number of disease-carrying rats.

A new study published yesterday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene by researchers from the University of California found that the expansion of crop lands by 70 per cent over recent years has caused the number of plague-carrying rodents to double.

Rats which live in human areas are also particularly competent hosts for plague and are more likely to interact with humans, increasing the chance of humans being bitten by plague-infected fleas.


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