Resistance to plague among black-tailed prairie dog populations

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
By: , and 



In some rodent species frequently exposed to plague outbreaks caused by Yersinia pestis, resistance to the disease has evolved as a population trait. As a first step in determining if plague resistance has developed in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), animals captured from colonies in a plague-free region (South Dakota) and two plague-endemic regions (Colorado and Texas) were challenged with Y. pestis at one of three doses (2.5, 250, or 2500 mouse LD50s). South Dakota prairie dogs were far more susceptible to plague than Colorado and Texas prairie dogs (p<0.001), with a mortality rate of nearly 100% over all doses. Colorado and Texas prairie dogs were quite similar in their response, with overall survival rates of 50% and 60%, respectively. Prairie dogs from these states were heterogenous in their response, with some animals dying at the lowest dose (37% and 20%, respectively) and some surviving even at the highest dose (29% and 40%, respectively). Microsatellite analysis revealed that all three groups were distinct genetically, but further studies are needed to establish a genetic basis for the observed differences in plague resistance.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Resistance to plague among black-tailed prairie dog populations
Series title Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
DOI 10.1089/vbz.2011.0602
Volume 12
Issue 2
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Society for Zoonotic Ecology and Epidemiology
Publisher location Larchmont, NY
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 6 p.
First page 111
Last page 116
Country United States
State Colorado, South Dakota, Texas
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details