Avian Influenza Situation in Mongolia

Since the Qhinghai Lake outbreak in China in 2005, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 has become one of the most serious animal disease problems in the world. This is because of the concern for its potential to cause a human pandemic. Following the rapid spread of the HPAI H5N1 virus across Asia, Europe, and Africa and the reports of mortality events in humans, poultry and migratory wild bird species, surveillance activities for avian influenza viruses has increased significantly in many countries.

Because every year millions of birds migrate through Mongolia between their Arctic breeding grounds and the wintering grounds in the south, Mongolia plays a very unique position in global avian influenza research and surveillance. The country also has very low densities of domestic poultry compared to other countries affected by HPAI virus. However, Mongolia was the second country to report wild birds infected with the H5N1 virus. So far there have been 10 HPAI incidents in Mongolia since 2005 all in wild bird populations. The latest research indicates that migratory birds most likely introduced the H5N1 virus into this country.

Locations of HPAI outbreaks in Mongolia since 2005

Khovsgol aimag- 2005 - Erkhel Lake

Bulgan aimag - 2005 - Khunt Lake

Bulgan aimag - 2006 - Khunt Lake

Khovsgol aimag - 2009 - Erkhel Lake

Uvs aimag - 2009 - Uvs Lake

Arkhangai, Khovsgol aimag- 2009 - Doitiin Tsagaan Lake

Arkhangai aimag- 2009 - Doroo Lake

Sukhbaatar aimag- 2010 - Ganga Lake

Uvs aimag - 2010 - Uvs Lake

Sukhbaatar aimag - 2011 - Zegst Lake

In 2006, The Government of Mongolia approved the National Strategy to Prevent and Control Avian Influenza Pandemics. One of the goals of the plan is to expand research on the epidemiology of influenza in wild birds, in order to understand and prevent the spread of this disease among birds and humans. Within the framework of the NSPCAIP, several research groups have been conducting field surveillance activities throughout country to identify HPAI outbreak locations, determine the virus prevalence in wild birds, and investigate the role of wild birds in transmitting the virus and map to bird migratory flyways.

WSCC of Mongolia is one of the key collaborators of several international projects funded and implemented by the United Nations-FAO Wildlife Health and Ecology Unit, US Department of Agriculture - APHIS/WS National Wildlife Disease Program, US Geological Survey (USGS) - Western Ecological Research Center, University of Wales Bangor in the UK, and the Institute of Biology at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences to study avian disease ecology and migration of waterbirds throughout Mongolia. Within these collaborations, our teams have captured and AI sampled over a thousand wild birds and marked many birds with satellite transmitters, GPS loggers, neck collars, and color and metal leg bands to study their migration and identify wintering locations.

In 2009, WSCC/MAS team documented a HPAI outbreak at Doroo Lake in northern Mongolia.

MAIMap - mapping avian influenza in Mongolia

Mongolian Avian Influenza Map (MAIMap) Mongolian Avian Influenza Map (MAIMap) is a web map to provide a cumulative set of locations of confirmed cases of HPAI and LPAI viruses and will be updated on regular basis. It was launched through a FAO funded project on avian influenza surveillance in Mongolia.

The data for the MAIMap is collected from various sources including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, the Ministry of Health, the State Central Veterinarian Laboratory, the Institute of Biology at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, and several international projects working on avian influenza prevention and surveillance programs in the country. WSCC of Mongolia updates the webmap to provide current and accurate information for decision makers and other various users.

MAIMap also shares avian influenza map information with the Global Animal Disease Information System (EMPRES-i) of the UN-FAO Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES). EMPRES-i is a web-based application that was designed to support veterinary services by facilitating access to regional and global disease information. The goal of the EMPRES-i system is to enhance global early warning and response to transboundary animal diseases including emergent zoonoses by providing timely and reliable disease information to support prevention, progressive control and eradication programs.

We are grateful for the Institute of Biology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, State Central Veterinarian Laboratory, WSCC of Mongolia, UN-FAO, USGS, and the Wildlife Conservation Society for their generous contribution of wild bird surveillance data.

 

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