The prevalence of rodent-borne zoonotic pathogens in the South Gobi desert region of Mongolia

Esson, Carol, Samelius, Gustaf, Strand, Tanja M., Lundkvist, Åke, Michaux, Johan R., Råsbäck, Therese, Wahab, Tara, Mijiddorj, Tserennadmid Nadia, Berger, Lee, Skerratt, Lee F., and Low, Matthew (2023) The prevalence of rodent-borne zoonotic pathogens in the South Gobi desert region of Mongolia. Infection Ecology & Epidemiology, 13 (1). 2270258.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (5MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


The alpine ecosystems and communities of central Asia are currently undergoing large-scale ecological and socio-ecological changes likely to affect wildlife-livestock-human disease interactions and zoonosis transmission risk. However, relatively little is known about the prevalence of pathogens in this region. Between 2012 and 2015 we screened 142 rodents in Mongolia’s Gobi desert for exposure to important zoonotic and livestock pathogens. Rodent seroprevalence to Leptospira spp. was >1/3 of tested animals, Toxoplasma gondii and Coxiella burnetii approximately 1/8 animals, and the hantaviruses being between 1/20 (Puumala-like hantavirus) and <1/100 (Seoul-like hantavirus). Gerbils trapped inside local dwellings were one of the species seropositive to Puumala-like hantavirus, suggesting a potential zoonotic transmission pathway. Seventeen genera of zoonotic bacteria were also detected in the faeces and ticks collected from these rodents, with one tick testing positive to Yersinia. Our study helps provide baseline patterns of disease prevalence needed to infer potential transmission between source and target populations in this region, and to help shift the focus of epidemiological research towards understanding disease transmission among species and proactive disease mitigation strategies within a broader One Health framework.

Item ID: 81094
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2000-8686
Keywords: haematology, hantavirus, leptospira, Mongolia, Rodent, zoonoses
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC FT190100462
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2024 23:16
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300910 Veterinary pathology @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280101 Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences @ 50%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280111 Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 8
Last 12 Months: 8
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page