Hotspots in a cold land-reported cases of rabies in wildlife and livestock in Mongolia from 2012–2018

Graham A. Matulis, Doniddemberel Altantogtokh, Paul M. Lantos, Jordan H. Jones, Rachel N. Wofford, Mark Janko, Nyamdorj Tsogbadrakh, Tserendovdon Bayar, Sainkhuu Ganzorig, Bazartseren Boldbaatar, B. Katherine Poole-Smith, Jeffrey Hertz, Jodi Fiorenzano, Michael E. von Fricken*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The epidemiological profile of rabies virus within Mongolia remains poorly characterized despite 21,302 domestic animal cases being reported between 1970–2005. This lack of knowledge is particularly concerning given that roughly 26% of the population lives a pastoral herding lifestyle and livestock production contributes up to 18% of Mongolia's total gross domestic product (GDP). The gaps in knowledge of the rabies disease ecology within Mongolia combined with the lack of routine vaccination of domestic animals and wildlife poses a significant threat to the more than 60 million heads of livestock within Mongolia. Animal rabies case data from the General Authority for Veterinary Services and National Center for Zoonotic Diseases were used in this study. Each data point included year of report, an animal descriptor, geographic coordinates and the aimag (province) of origin. A total of 2,359 animal rabies cases were reported between 2012–2018. Cattle were the most commonly reported animal overall (861 cases), followed by goats (268), sheep (251) and dogs (221) within the domestic animal category. Red foxes were responsible for most reported wildlife cases (317) followed by wolves (151). Most rabid animals were reported in the Khuvsgul, Uvurkhangai and Govi-Altai aimags, and a positive correlation was found between livestock numbers per soum and the number of rabies cases reported. Rabies poses a significant threat to the Mongolian economy and the health of human and animal populations within Mongolia. The close association of the nomadic pastoralists with both domestic animals and wildlife represents a significant threat for disease emergence and necessitates studies that describe the ecology of rabies, which may threaten these populations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalZoonoses and Public Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Central Asia
  • Mongolia
  • public health
  • rabies
  • rabies virus
  • viral zoonoses


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