Spatial spread of an emerging infectious disease: Conjunctivitis in House Finches

Parviez R. Hosseini, André A. Dhondt, Andrew P. Dobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In this paper we quantify the rate of spread of the newly emerged pathogen Mycoplasma gallisepticum of the House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus, in its introduced range. We compare and contrast the rapid, yet decelerating, rate of spread of the pathogen with the slower, yet accelerating rate of spread of the introduced host. Comparing the rate of spread of this pathogen to pathogens in terrestrial mammalian hosts, we see that elevation and factors relating to host abundance restrict disease spread, rather than finding any major effects of discrete barriers or anthropogenic movement. We examine the role of seasonality in the rate of spread, finding that the rate and direction of disease spread relates more to seasonality in host movement than to seasonality in disease prevalence. We conclude that asymptomatic carriers are major transmitters of Mycoplasma gallisepticum into novel locations, a finding which may also be true for many other diseases, such as West Nile Virus and avian influenza.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3037-3046
Number of pages10
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


  • Aves
  • Carpodacus mexicanus
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Disease
  • Geographic constraints
  • House Finch
  • Mycoplasma gallisepticum
  • Seasonality
  • Spread of infection


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