Human activity spaces and plague risks in three contrasting landscapes in Lushoto district, Tanzania

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Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3003, Morogoro, Tanzania


Since 1980 plague has been a human threat in the Western Usambara MountainsinTanzania.However,thespatial-temporal pattern of plague occurrence remains poorly understood.The mainobjectiveofthisstudywastogain understanding ofhumanactivity patterns in relation to spatialdistribution offleasin Lushoto District.Data werecollected in threelandscapesdiffering in plagueincidence.Field survey coupled with Geographic Information System (GIS)and physical sample collectionswereused to collect datainwet(April to June 2012) anddry(August to October 2012)seasons.Dataanalysis was done usingGIS,one-wayANOVAand nonparametricstatistical tools.The degree of spatial co-occurrence of potential disease vectors (fleas) and humans in Lushoto focus differs significantly (p≤0.05)amongthe selected landscapes, and in both seasons.This trend gives a coarseindicationof the possibleassociation of the plague outbreaks and the human frequencies of contacting environments with fleas.Thestudy suggests that plague surveillance and control programmes at landscape scale should consider theexistence of plague vector contagion risk gradientfrom high to low incidence landscapes due to humanpresence and intensity of activities.


The main objective of this study was to gain understanding of human activity patterns in relation to spatial distribution of fleas in Lushoto District.


risk gradient, plague, human activity spaces, flea index, Tanzania


HieronimoP., GulinckH., KimaroD. N., MulunguL. S., KihupiN. I., MsanyaB. M., LeirsH. and DeckersJ. A. (2014) “Human activity spaces and plague risks in three contrasting landscapes in Lushoto District, Tanzania”, Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 16(3). doi: 10.4314/thrb.v16i3.2.