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Fenced pasture: A possible risk factor for human alveolar echinococcosis in Tibetan pastoralist communities of Sichuan, China
Abstract and Figures
Alveolar echinococcosis, infection caused by the parasitic helminth Echinococcus multilocularis, is a zoonosis strongly linked to climatic and ecological factors. Cross-sectional survey data were used to test a hypothesis that partial fencing of pastures could promote alveolar echinococcosis transmission in semi-nomadic pastoral communities of the Tibetan plateau, PR China. Using multiple stepwise logistic regression with consideration of factors of age and gender, it was shown that partial fencing around the settlements in winter pasture was significantly and independently associated with the risk of human alveolar echinococcosis in the surveyed villages (P = 0.021). The underlying reason may lie in overgrazing, an assumed cause of population outbreaks of small mammal intermediate hosts of the parasite on the Tibetan plateau. Overgrazing may have been exacerbated by the reduction of communal pastures nearby the settlements due to introduction of partial fencing around group tenure pastures acquired by Tibetan pastoralist families.
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