Volume 96, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Anthrax, caused by the environmental bacterium , is an important zoonosis nearly worldwide. In Central Asia, anthrax represents a major veterinary and public health concern. In the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, ongoing anthrax outbreaks have been reported in humans associated with handling infected livestock and contaminated animal by-products such as meat or hides. The current anthrax situation has prompted calls for improved insights into the epidemiology, ecology, and spatial distribution of the disease in Kyrgyzstan to better inform control and surveillance. Disease control for both humans and livestock relies on annual livestock vaccination ahead of outbreaks. Toward this, we used a historic database of livestock anthrax reported from 1932 to 2006 mapped at high resolution to develop an ecological niche model–based prediction of across Kyrgyzstan and identified spatial clusters of livestock anthrax using a cluster morphology statistic. We also defined the seasonality of outbreaks in livestock. Cattle were the most frequently reported across the time period, with the greatest number of cases in late summer months. Our niche models defined four areas as suitable to support pathogen persistence, the plateaus near Talas and Bishkek, the valleys of western Kyrgyzstan along the Fergana Valley, and the low-lying areas along the shore of Lake Isyk-Kul. These areas should be considered “at risk” for livestock anthrax and subsequent human cases. Areas defined by the niche models can be used to prioritize anthrax surveillance and inform efforts to target livestock vaccination campaigns.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Fasanella A, Galante D, Garofolo G, Jones MH, , 2010. Anthrax undervalued zoonosis. Vet Microbiol 140: 318331.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  2. Kracalik I, Abdullayev R, Asadov K, Ismayilova R, Baghirova M, Ustun N, Shikhiyev M, Talibzade A, Blackburn JK, , 2014. Changing patterns of human anthrax in Azerbaijan during the post-Soviet and preemptive livestock vaccination eras. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8: e2985.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  3. Kracalik IT, Malania L, Tsertsvadze N, Manvelyan J, Bakanidze L, Imnadze P, Tsanava S, Blackburn JK, , 2013. Evidence of local persistence of human anthrax in the country of Georgia associated with environmental and anthropogenic factors. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7: e2388.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  4. Kracalik I, Malania L, Tsertsvadze N, Manvelyan J, Bakanidze L, Imnadze P, Tsanava S, Blackburn JK, , 2014. Human cutaneous anthrax, Georgia 2010–2012. Emerg Infect Dis 20: 261264.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  5. Hugh-Jones M, , 1999. 97 global anthrax report. J Appl Microbiol 87: 189191.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  6. Aikembayev AM, Lukhnova L, Temiraliyeva G, Meka-Mechenko T, Pazylov Y, Zakaryan S, Denissov G, Easterday WR, Van Ert MN, Keim P, Francesconi SC, Blackburn JK, Hugh-Jones ME, Hadfield TL, , 2010. Historical distribution and molecular diversity of Bacillus anthracis, Kazakhstan. Emerg Infect Dis 16: 789796.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  7. Kracalik IT, Blackburn JK, Lukhnova L, Pazilov Y, Hugh-Jones ME, Aikimbayev A, , 2012. Analysing the spatial patterns of livestock anthrax in Kazakhstan in relation to environmental factors: a comparison of local (Gi*) and morphology cluster statistics. Geospat Health 7: 111126.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  8. Woods CW, Ospanov K, Myrzabekov A, Favorov M, Plikaytis B, Ashford DA, , 2004. Risk factors for human anthrax among contacts of anthrax-infected livestock in Kazakhstan. Am J Trop Med Hyg 71: 4852. [Google Scholar]
  9. Blackburn J, O'Connell KP, Sulakvelidze EW, Bakanidze L, , 2010. Integrating geographic information systems and ecological niche modeling into disease ecology: a case study of Bacillus anthracis in the United States and Mexico. , ed. Emerging and Endemic Pathogens: Advances in Surveillance, Detection, and Identification. Dordrecht: Springer, 5988.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  10. McNyset KM, , 2009. Ecological niche conservatism in North American freshwater fishes. Biol J Linn Soc Lond 96: 282295.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  11. Blackburn JK, McNyset KM, Curtis A, Hugh-Jones ME, , 2007. Modeling the geographic distribution of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax disease, for the contiguous United States using predictive ecologic niche modeling. Am J Trop Med Hyg 77: 11031110. [Google Scholar]
  12. Mullins JC, Garofolo G, Van Ert M, Fasanella A, Lukhnova L, Hugh-Jones ME, Blackburn JK, , 2013. Ecological niche modeling of Bacillus anthracis on three continents: evidence for genetic-ecological divergence? PLoS One 8: e72451.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  13. Blackburn JK, Odugbo MO, Van Ert M, O'Shea B, Mullins J, Perrenten V, Maho A, Hugh-Jones M, Hadfield T, , 2015. Bacillus anthracis diversity and geographic potential across Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad: further support of a novel West African lineage. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9: e0003931.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  14. Joyner TA, Lukhnova L, Pazilov Y, Temiralyeva G, Hugh-Jones ME, Aikimbayev A, Blackburn JK, , 2010. Modeling the potential distribution of Bacillus anthracis under multiple climate change scenarios for Kazakhstan. PLoS One 5: e9596.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  15. Epp T, Argue C, Waldner C, Berke O, , 2010. Spatial analysis of an anthrax outbreak in Saskatchewan, 2006. Can Vet J 51: 743748. [Google Scholar]
  16. Kracalik I, Lukhnova L, Aikimbayev A, Pazilov Y, Temiralyeva G, Blackburn JK, , 2011. Incorporating retrospective clustering into a prospective cusum methodology for anthrax: evaluating the effects of disease expectation. Spat Spatio-Temporal Epidemiol 2: 1121.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  17. Bezymennyi M, Bagamian KH, Barro A, Skrypnyk A, Skrypnyk V, Blackburn JK, , 2014. Spatio-temporal patterns of livestock anthrax in Ukraine during the past century (1913–2012). Appl Geogr 54: 129138.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  18. Mullins J, Lukhnova L, Aikimbayev A, Pazilov Y, Van Ert M, Blackburn JK, , 2011. Ecological niche modelling of the Bacillus anthracis A1: a sub-lineage in Kazakhstan. BMC Ecol 11: 32.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  19. Blackburn JK, Hadfield TL, Curtis AJ, Hugh-Jones ME, , 2014. Spatial and temporal patterns of anthrax in white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, and hematophagous flies in west Texas during the summertime anthrax risk period. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 104: 939958.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  20. Anderson RP, Lew D, Peterson AT, , 2003. Evaluating predictive models of species' distributions: criteria for selecting optimal models. Ecol Model 162: 211232.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  21. Stockwell D, Peters D, , 1999. The GARP modelling system: problems and solutions to automated spatial prediction. Int J Geogr Inf Sci 13: 143158.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  22. Hijmans RJ, Cameron SE, Parra JL, Jones PG, Jarvis A, , 2005. Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. Int J Climatol 25: 19651978.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  23. Hay SI, Tatem A, Graham A, Goetz S, Rogers D, , 2006. Global environmental data for mapping infectious disease distribution. Adv Parasitol 62: 3777.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  24. FAO/IIASA/CISS-CAS/JRC, 2008. Harmonized World Soil Database (Version 1.0). Rome, Italy and Laxenburg, Austria: FAO. [Google Scholar]
  25. McNyset KM, , 2005. Use of ecological niche modelling to predict distributions of freshwater fish species in Kansas. Ecol Freshwat Fish 14: 243255.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  26. Joyner TA, , 2010. Ecological niche modeling of a zoonosis: a case study using anthrax and climate change in Kazakhstan, Masters Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida: 150. [Google Scholar]
  27. Fielding A, Bell J, , 1997. A review of methods for the assessment of prediction errors in conservation presence/absence models. Environ Conserv 24: 3849.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  28. Zweig MH, Campbell G, , 1993. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) plots: a fundamental evaluation tool in clinical medicine. Clin Chem 39: 561577. [Google Scholar]
  29. Wiley EO, McNyset KM, Peterson AT, Robins CR, Stewart AM, , 2003. Niche modeling and geographic range predictions in the marine environment using a machine learning algorithm. Oceanography (Wash DC) 16: 120126.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  30. Lobo JM, Jiménez-Valverde A, Real R, , 2008. AUC: a misleading measure of the performance of predictive distribution models. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 17: 145151.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  31. Blackburn JK, Asher V, Stokke S, Hunter DL, Alexander KA, , 2014. Dances with anthrax: wolves (Canis lupus) kill anthrax bacteremic plains bison (Bison bison bison) in southwestern Montana. J Wildl Dis 50: 393396.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  32. Crewett W, , 2015. Introducing decentralized pasture governance in Kyrgyzstan: designing implementation rules. Environ Sci Policy 53: 215224.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  33. Blackburn JK, Goodin DG, , 2013. Differentiation of springtime vegetation indices associated with summer anthrax epizootics in west Texas, USA deer. J Wildl Dis 49: 699703.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  34. Turner A, Galvin J, Rubira R, Miller G, , 1999. Anthrax explodes in an Australian summer. J Appl Microbiol 87: 196199.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  35. Parkinson R, Rajic A, Jenson C, , 2003. Investigation of an anthrax outbreak in Alberta in 1999 using a geographic information system. Can Vet J 44: 315318. [Google Scholar]
  36. Fasanella A, Garofolo G, Hossain M, Shamsuddin M, Blackburn J, Hugh-Jones M, , 2012. Bangladesh anthrax outbreaks are probably caused by contaminated livestock feed. Epidemiol Infect 1: 18. [Google Scholar]
  37. van Gelder R, , 2004. Livestock production and agriculture in Kyrgyzstan. Sci Access 1: 200203. [Google Scholar]
  38. Van Ert M, Easterday W, Huynh L, Okinaka R, Hugh-Jones M, Ravel J, Zanecki S, Pearson T, Simonson T, Okinaka RT, Hugh-Jones ME, Ravel J, Zanecki SR, Pearson T, Simonson TS, U'Ren JM, Kachur SM, Leadem-Dougherty RR, Rhoton SD, Zinser G, Farlow J, Coker PR, Smith KL, Wang B, Kenefic LJ, Fraser-Liggett CM, Wagner DM, Keim P, , 2007. Global genetic population structure of Bacillus anthracis . PLoS One 2: e461.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  39. Fasanella A, Van Ert M, Altamura SA, Garofolo G, Buonavoglia C, Leori G, Huynh L, Zanecki S, Keim P, , 2005. Molecular diversity of Bacillus anthracis in Italy. J Clin Microbiol 43: 33983401.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  40. Blackburn JK, Ten R, Aikembayev AM, Zhunushov A, Hugh-Jones MEM, , 2007. Using Ecological Modeling with GIS to Improve International Anthrax Surveillance. New Orleans, Louisiana: Urisa GIS and Health Conference, May 2007. [Google Scholar]
  41. Baibagushev E, Kreutzmann H, Abdulalishoev K, Zhaohui L, Richter J, Kreutzmann H, Abdulalishoev K, Zhaohui L, Richter J, , 2011. Recent changes in pastoral systems. Case study on Kyrgyzstan. , eds. Pastoralism and Rangeland Management in Mountain Areas in the Context of Climate and Global Change. Bonn, Germany: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), 102118. [Google Scholar]
  42. Van Veen TWS, , 1995. The Kyrgyz Sheep Herders at a Crossroads. Pastoral Development Network Paper. London, United Kingdom: Overseas Development Institute. [Google Scholar]
  43. Sytnik I, Karibayev T, Tyulegenov S, Abenova A, Tashkenbayev A, Yerimbetov S, , 2013. Surveillance of foot and mouth disease: a study of 2011–2012 outbreaks in Kazakhstan. Beтepинapнa Meдицинa 97: 5154. [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

Supplemental Table

  • Received : 18 Sep 2016
  • Accepted : 30 Nov 2016
  • Published online : 23 Jan 2017

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error