Species Traits and Hotspots Associated with Ross River Virus Infection in Nonhuman Vertebrates in South East Queensland

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Skinner, Eloise B
Rudd, Penny A
Peel, Alison J
McCallum, Hamish
Reid, Simon A
Herrero, Lara J
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2020
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Abstract

Ross River virus (RRV) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic arbovirus associated with high public health and economic burdens across Australia, but particularly in South East Queensland (SEQ). Despite this high burden, humans are considered incidental hosts. Transmission of RRV is maintained among mosquitoes and many nonhuman vertebrate reservoir hosts, although the relative contributions of each of these hosts are unclear. To clarify the importance of a range of vertebrates in RRV transmission in SEQ, a total of 595 serum samples from 31 species were examined for RRV exposure using a gold-standard plaque reduction neutralization test. Data were analyzed statistically using generalized linear models and a coefficient inference tree, and spatially. RRV exposure was highly variable between and within species groups. Critically, species group ("placental mammal,""marsupial,"and "bird"), which has previously been used as a proxy for reservoir hosts, was a poor correlate for exposure. Instead, we found that generalized "diet"and greater "body mass"were most strongly correlated with seropositivity. We also identified significant differences in seropositivity between the two major possum species (ringtail possums and brushtail possums), which are ecologically and taxonomically different. Finally, we identified distinct hotspots and coldspots of seropositivity in nonhuman vertebrates, which correlated with human notification data. This is the largest diversity of species tested for RRV in a single study to date. The analysis methods within this study provide a framework for analyzing serological data in combination with species traits for other zoonotic disease, but more specifically for RRV highlight areas to target further public health research and surveillance effort.

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Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
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21
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1
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Health services and systems
Public health
Epidemiology
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Infectious Diseases
arbovirus
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Skinner, EB; Rudd, PA; Peel, AJ; McCallum, H; Reid, SA; Herrero, LJ, Species Traits and Hotspots Associated with Ross River Virus Infection in Nonhuman Vertebrates in South East Queensland, Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 2020, 21 (1)
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