Populations of common voles Microtus arvalis were studied as hosts of the tapeworm Taenia taeniaeformis during a 14-yr survey. They were monitored in spring, summer, and autumn in a pastoral ecosystem in eastern France. A total of 7,574 voles were sampled during 2 multiannual population fluctuations. A third fluctuation was sampled during the increase phase only. Overall prevalence was lowest in summer (0.6%), increased by 3 times in autumn (1.5%) and a further 5 times in spring (7.8%). Analysis of prevalence, based on 7,384 voles, by multiple logistic regression revealed that extrinsic factors such as season and intrinsic factors such as host age and host density have a combined effect. In the longer term, host age and host density were positively associated with prevalence in summer. Host density was strongly associated with autumn prevalence. There was no association between the fluctuation phase and prevalence. The study shows that a long timescale (here a multiannual survey) is necessary to demonstrate the positive effect of host density on the prevalence of this indirectly transmitted parasite. The demonstration of this relationship depends on the rodents being intermediate rather than definitive hosts.

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