The Role of Peridomestic Rodents as Reservoirs for Zoonotic Foodborne Pathogens

Nusrat A. Jahan, Laramie L. Lindsey, Peter A. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Although rodents are well-known reservoirs and vectors for a number of zoonoses, the functional role that peridomestic rodents serve in the amplification and transmission of foodborne pathogens is likely underappreciated. Clear links have been identified between commensal rodents and outbreaks of foodborne pathogens throughout Europe and Asia; however, comparatively little research has been devoted to studying this relationship in the United States. In particular, regional studies focused on specific rodent species and their foodborne pathogen reservoir status across the diverse agricultural landscapes of the United States are lacking. We posit that both native and invasive species of rodents associated with food-production pipelines are likely sources of seasonal outbreaks of foodborne pathogens throughout the United States. In this study, we review the evidence that identifies peridomestic rodents as reservoirs for foodborne pathogens, and we call for novel research focused on the metagenomic communities residing at the rodent-Agriculture interface. Such data will likely result in the identification of new reservoirs for foodborne pathogens and species-specific demographic traits that might underlie seasonal enteric disease outbreaks. Moreover, we anticipate that a One Health metagenomic research approach will result in the discovery of new strains of zoonotic pathogens circulating in peridomestic rodents. Data resulting from such research efforts would directly inform and improve upon biosecurity efforts, ultimately serving to protect our food supply.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-148
Number of pages16
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2021, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2021.


  • agriculture
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • enteric pathogen
  • food animal
  • One Health
  • zoonoses

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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