Evaluating Campylobacter spp at the human-wildlife interface

dc.contributor.authorMedley, Sarah E.en
dc.contributor.committeechairAlexander, Kathleen A.en
dc.contributor.committeememberHallerman, Eric M.en
dc.contributor.committeememberPonder, Monica A.en
dc.contributor.committeememberBadgley, Brian D.en
dc.contributor.departmentFish and Wildlife Conservationen
dc.description.abstractCampylobacter spp. infections are an increasing global concern responsible for a significant burden of disease every year. Wildlife and domestic animals are considered important reservoirs, but little is known about host-factors driving pathogen infection dynamics in wild mammal populations. In countries like Botswana, there is significant spatial overlap between humans and wildlife with a large proportion of the population vulnerable to Campylobacter infection, making Botswana an ideal location to study these interactions. This thesis reviews mammalian wildlife species that have been identified as carriers of Campylobacter spp., identifies life-history traits (urban association, trophic level, and sociality) that may be driving Campylobacter infection, and utilizes banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) (n=201) as a study species to illuminate potential Campylobacter spp. transmission at the human-wildlife interface in northern Botswana. Results of the latter study suggest that human-landscapes are critical to C. jejuni infection in banded mongooses, as mongooses utilizing man-made structures as dens had significantly higher levels of C. jejuni than mongooses using natural dens (p=0.019). A similar association was found across all wild mammals with significantly greater number of urban dwelling species positive for C. jejuni than urban avoiders (p = 0.04). Omnivorous and social mammals were significantly associated with C. coli presence (p=0.04 and p<0.00 respectively), but not with C. jejuni indicating there may be important differences in transmission dynamics between Campylobacter species. These results suggest that landscape features and life-history traits can have important influences on Campylobacter species exposure and transmission dynamics in wildlife.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralCampylobacter infections are increasing worldwide but we still know little about the true burden of disease in the developing world, and even less about the role of wildlife and environmental reservoirs in human exposure and disease. I reviewed life-history traits (urban association, animal rank on the food chain, and sociality) that might be driving Campylobacter spp. infection in wildlife and investigated interactions between an urbanizing wildlife species, banded mongoose (Mungos mungo), humans, and the environment. Banded mongooses live in close association with humans and infections with C. jejuni were greater among mongooses utilizing man-made structures compared to those using natural dens. Across all wild mammal species tested for Campylobacter spp., mammals associated with urban living were significantly more likely to be positive for C. jejuni than mammals that avoid urban areas. Lowerranking mammals on the food chain and social mammals were associated with presence of C. coli, suggesting life-history rates are playing a role in wild mammal exposures to the pathogen and that these exposures are different for C. coli than C. jejuni. These data suggest that wildlife life-history traits and utilization of human landscapes are important for pathogen presence. In turn, pathogen circulation and transmission in urbanizing wildlife reservoirs may increase human vulnerability to disease, particularly in impoverished populations, where greater environmental exposures are expected. Improvement of waste management and hygiene practices may help reduce transmission between wildlife and humans.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectCampylobacter sppen
dc.subjectCampylobacter jejunien
dc.subjectOne Healthen
dc.subjecturban wildlifeen
dc.subjectinfectious diseaseen
dc.titleEvaluating Campylobacter spp at the human-wildlife interfaceen
thesis.degree.disciplineFisheries and Wildlife Scienceen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Scienceen


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