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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Sep;75(18):5893-909. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02757-08. Epub 2009 Jul 31.

Modeling of spatially referenced environmental and meteorological factors influencing the probability of Listeria species isolation from natural environments.

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1
Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4458, USA. rivanek@cvm.tamu.edu

Abstract

Many pathogens have the ability to survive and multiply in abiotic environments, representing a possible reservoir and source of human and animal exposure. Our objective was to develop a methodological framework to study spatially explicit environmental and meteorological factors affecting the probability of pathogen isolation from a location. Isolation of Listeria spp. from the natural environment was used as a model system. Logistic regression and classification tree methods were applied, and their predictive performances were compared. Analyses revealed that precipitation and occurrence of alternating freezing and thawing temperatures prior to sample collection, loam soil, water storage to a soil depth of 50 cm, slope gradient, and cardinal direction to the north are key predictors for isolation of Listeria spp. from a spatial location. Different combinations of factors affected the probability of isolation of Listeria spp. from the soil, vegetation, and water layers of a location, indicating that the three layers represent different ecological niches for Listeria spp. The predictive power of classification trees was comparable to that of logistic regression. However, the former were easier to interpret, making them more appealing for field applications. Our study demonstrates how the analysis of a pathogen's spatial distribution improves understanding of the predictors of the pathogen's presence in a particular location and could be used to propose novel control strategies to reduce human and animal environmental exposure.

PMID:
19648372
PMCID:
PMC2747854
DOI:
10.1128/AEM.02757-08
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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