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Raccoon contact networks predict seasonal susceptibility to rabies outbreaks and limitations of vaccination

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dc.contributor.author Reynolds, Jennifer J. H. en
dc.contributor.author Hirsch, Ben T. en
dc.contributor.author Gehrt, Stanley D. en
dc.contributor.author Craft, Meggan E. en
dc.date.accessioned 2015-07-28T13:36:30Z
dc.date.available 2015-07-28T13:36:30Z
dc.date.issued 2015
dc.identifier.citation Reynolds, Jennifer J. H., Hirsch, Ben T., Gehrt, Stanley D., and Craft, Meggan E. 2015. "<a href="https%3A%2F%2Frepository.si.edu%2Fhandle%2F10088%2F26752">Raccoon contact networks predict seasonal susceptibility to rabies outbreaks and limitations of vaccination</a>." <em>Journal of Animal Ecology</em>. 84 (6):1720&ndash;1731. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12422">https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12422</a> en
dc.identifier.issn 0021-8790
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10088/26752
dc.description.abstract Infectious disease transmission often depends on the contact structure of host populations. Although it is often challenging to capture the contact structure in wild animals, new technology has enabled biologists to obtain detailed temporal information on wildlife social contacts. In this study, we investigated the effects of raccoon contact patterns on rabies spread using network modeling. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) play an important role in the maintenance of rabies in the US. It is crucial to understand how contact patterns influence the spread of rabies in raccoon populations in order to design effective control measures and to prevent transmission to human populations and other animals. We constructed a dynamic system of contact networks based on empirical data from proximity logging collars on a wild suburban raccoon population, and then simulated rabies spread across these networks. Our contact networks incorporated the number and duration of raccoon interactions. We included differences in contacts according to sex and season, and both short-term acquaintances and long-term associations. Raccoons may display different behaviors when infectious, including aggression (furious behavior) and impaired mobility (dumb behavior); the network model was used to assess the impact of potential behavioral changes of rabid raccoons. We also tested the effectiveness of different vaccination coverage levels on rabies spread. Our results demonstrate that when rabies enters a suburban raccoon population, the likelihood of a disease outbreak affecting the majority of the population is high. Both the magnitude of rabies outbreaks and the speed of rabies spread depend strongly on the time of year that rabies is introduced into the population. When there is a combination of dumb and furious behaviors in the rabid raccoon population, there are similar outbreak sizes and speed of spread to when there are no behavioral changes due to rabies infection. By incorporating detailed data describing the variation in raccoon contact rates into a network modeling approach, we were able to show that suburban raccoon populations are highly susceptible to rabies outbreaks, that the risk of large outbreaks varies seasonally, and that current vaccination target levels may be inadequate to prevent the spread of rabies within these populations. Our findings thus provide new insights into rabies dynamics in raccoon populations and have important implications for disease control. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. en
dc.relation.ispartof Journal of Animal Ecology en
dc.title Raccoon contact networks predict seasonal susceptibility to rabies outbreaks and limitations of vaccination en
dc.type Journal Article en
dc.identifier.srbnumber 136820
dc.identifier.doi 10.1111/1365-2656.12422
rft.jtitle Journal of Animal Ecology
rft.volume 84
rft.issue 6
rft.spage 1720
rft.epage 1731
dc.description.SIUnit STRI en
dc.description.SIUnit Peer-reviewed en
dc.description.SIUnit Fellow en
dc.citation.spage 1720
dc.citation.epage 1731

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