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Epidemiol Health. 2015;37(1):e2015050. English. Original Article.
Pourhossein B , Esmaeili S , Gyuranecz M , Mostafavi E .
Department of Virology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Epidemiology, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran.
National Reference Laboratory for Plague, Tularemia and Q Fever, Research Centre for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Akanlu, Kabudar Ahang, Hamadan, Iran.
Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
Institute for Veterinary Medical Research, Centre for Agricultural Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary.

OBJECTIVES: Earthquakes are one the most common natural disasters that lead to increased mortality and morbidity from transmissible diseases, partially because the rodents displaced by an earthquake can lead to an increased rate of disease transmission. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of plague and tularemia in rodents in the earthquake zones in southeastern Iran. METHODS: In April 2013, a research team was dispatched to explore the possible presence of diseases in rodents displaced by a recent earthquake magnitude 7.7 around the cities of Khash and Saravan in Sistan and Baluchestan Province. Rodents were trapped near and in the earthquake zone, in a location where an outbreak of tularemia was reported in 2007. Rodent serums were tested for a serological survey using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: In the 13 areas that were studied, nine rodents were caught over a total of 200 trap-days. Forty-eight fleas and 10 ticks were obtained from the rodents. The ticks were from the Hyalomma genus and the fleas were from the Xenopsylla genus. All the trapped rodents were Tatera indica. Serological results were negative for plague, but the serum agglutination test was positive for tularemia in one of the rodents. Tatera indica has never been previously documented to be involved in the transmission of tularemia. CONCLUSIONS: No evidence of the plague cycle was found in the rodents of the area, but evidence was found of tularemia infection in rodents, as demonstrated by a positive serological test for tularemia in one rodent.

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