Tracking tick-borne diseases in Mongolian livestock using next generation sequencing (NGS)

Suwanna Chaorattanakawee, Rachel N. Wofford, Ratree Takhampunya, B. Katherine Poole-Smith, Bazartseren Boldbaatar, Sukhbaatar Lkhagvatseren, Doniddemberel Altantogtokh, Elisha Musih, Pagbajab Nymadawa, Silas Davidson, Jeffrey Hertz, Jodi Fiorenzano, Gregory C. Gray, Michael E. von Fricken*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The livestock industry in Mongolia accounts for 24% of national revenue, with one third of the population maintaining a pastoral lifestyle. This close connection between Mongolian population and livestock is a major concern for pathogen transfer, especially given the increase in vector-borne diseases globally. This study examines blood samples from livestock to assess the prevalence of tick-borne bacterial infections across three provinces in Mongolia (Dornogovi, Selenge, Töv). Whole blood samples from 243 livestock (cattle=38, camel=11, goat=85, horse=22, sheep=87) were analyzed with 16S metagenomics next-generation sequencing (NGS) to screen for bacterial pathogens. Positive-NGS samples for Anaplasma, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Francisella, Leptospira, and Rickettsia were confirmed by conventional PCR and DNA sequencing. Prevalence rates of Anaplasma, Bartonella, and Ehrlichia were 57.6%, 12.8%, and 0.4%, respectively. A significant difference in the prevalence of Anaplasma spp. in livestock by province was observed, with a higher prevalence in Selenge (74.2%, p<0.001) and Töv (64.2% p = 0.006) compared to the semi-arid region of Dornogovi (39.8%). In contrast, no association was observed in Bartonella prevalence by provinces. All Anaplasma sequences (N = 139) were characterized as A. ovis. For Bartonella species characterization, phylogenetic analyses of gltA and rpoB genes identified three Bartonella species including B. bovis, B. melophagi and Candidatus B. ovis. Bartonella bovis was detected in all 22-positive cattle, while B. melophagi and Candidatus B. ovis were found in four and three sheep, respectively. This study identifies a high prevalence of tick-borne pathogens within the livestock population and to our knowledge, is the first time NGS methods have been used to explore tick-borne diseases in Mongolia. Further research is needed in Mongolia to better understand the clinical and economic burdens associated with tick-borne diseases in both livestock and pastoral herder populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101845
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Anaplasma
  • Bartonella
  • Mongolia
  • Next generation sequencing
  • One health
  • Tick-borne disease


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