Low prevalence of enzootic equine influenza virus among horses in Mongolia

Alexandra Sack, Ulziimaa Daramragchaa, Maitsetseg Chuluunbaatar, Battsetseg Gonchigoo, Boldbaatar Bazartseren, Nyamdorj Tsogbadrakh, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Horses are critically important for Mongolian herders’ livelihoods, providing transportation and food products, and playing important cultural roles. Equine influenza virus (EIV) epizootics have been frequent among Mongolia’s horses, with five occurring since 1970. We sought to estimate the prevalence for EIV infection among horses and Bactrian camels with influenza-like illness between national epizootics. In 2016–2017, active surveillance for EIV was periodically performed in four aimags (provinces). Nasal swabs were collected from 680 horses and 131 camels. Seven of the horse swabs were “positive” for qRT-PCR evidence of influenza A (Ct value ≤ 38). Two more were “suspect positive” (Ct value > 38 and ≤ 40). These nine specimens were collected from four aimags. None of the camel specimens had molecular evidence of infection. Despite serial blind passage in Madin-Darby Canine Kidney cells (MDCK) cells, none of the nine horse specimens yielded an influenza A virus. None of the 131 herder households surveyed had recently vaccinated their horses against EIV. It seems likely that sporadic EIV is enzootic in multiple Mongolian aimags. This finding, the infrequent use of EIV vaccination, periodic prevalence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, and the mixing of domestic and wild equid herds suggest that Mongolia may be a hot spot for novel EIV emergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number61
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Bactrian camels
  • Equine influenza
  • Mongolia
  • Pastoralism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Low prevalence of enzootic equine influenza virus among horses in Mongolia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this