Plague is a primarily flea-borne rodent-associated zoonosis that is often fatal in humans. Our study focused on the plague-endemic West Nile region of Uganda where affordable means for the prevention of human plague are currently lacking. Traditional hut construction and food storage practices hinder rodent exclusion efforts, and emphasize the need for an inexpensive but effective host-targeted approach for controlling fleas within the domestic environment. Here we demonstrate the ability of an insecticide delivery tube that is made from inexpensive locally available materials to reduce fleas on domestic rodents. Unbaited tubes were treated with either an insecticide alone (fipronil) or in conjunction with an insect growth regulator [(S)-methoprene], and placed along natural rodent runways within participant huts. Performance was similar for both treatments throughout the course of the study, and showed significant reductions in the proportion of infested rodents relative to controls for at least 100 d posttreatment.
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Vol. 51 • No. 6