Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever: Ecology of the Agent and Epizootiology

by N. N. Kharitonova and Yu. A. Leonov. xx + 230 pages, illustrated. Published for the National Library of Medicine by Amerind Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. 1985. $22.95 (US & Canada), $45.90 (elsewhere).

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  • Salk Institute, Columbia, Maryland 21045

This remarkable Soviet monograph on Omsk hemorrhagic fever (OHF) is available to us in English because the late, and legendary, Harry Hoogstraal believed that it will make entomological and epidemiological history in the West. To make it available, he spent hundreds of hours working on the manuscript with Sophie Korzelska, his able Russian translator at NAMRU-3 in Cairo; subsequently he spent much additional time to make sure that the translation would be published.

Kharitonova and Leonov, with their colleagues from the Siberian Division of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, spent 13 years (1963–1976) on a study of the natural history of OHF in a typical ecologic niche—a lake in the West Siberian steppe. They concluded that the virus of OHF, classified as a tick-borne arbovirus, is transmitted in that setting not by arthropods, but by ingestion of contaminated water. The water is contaminated by the virus-laden excreta of persistently and chronically infected water voles (Arvicola terrestris).