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  • Author: Zakharova Olga x
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Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is a rare, under-explored lethal viral infection of cattle with gammaherpesvirus aetiological agents. Most often, the disease occurs on farms where cattle and sheep are kept together. However, other trigger mechanisms and environmental factors contribute. This study investigates the causation of MCF.

Material and Methods

An outbreak of MCF occurred in June - August 2017 in Kharchev village in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. In this paper, we provide epidemiological (sanitary status of pastures, watering places, and premises) and weather data during the outbreak, and descriptions of the clinical signs and post-mortem changes in cattle. The virus was detected and isolated from pathological material samples and identified by molecular methods.


Extreme weather conditions, mixed-herd cattle and sheep farming, and unsatisfactory feed quality contributed to the outbreak. A virus related to herpesvirus OvHV2 was isolated and typed (MCF/Irkutsk/2017). Phylogenetic analysis showed its close genetic relationship to isolates from cattle and sheep in Germany, USA, and the Netherlands.


Sporadic outbreaks of MCF caused by biotic and abiotic factors together are typical for the Russian Federation, and the Irkutsk outbreak epitomised this. Temperature anomalies caused pasture depletion, resulting in feed and water deficiency for grazing animals and dehydration and acidosis. Heat stress in animals ultimately led to the occurrence of MCF in the herd.


Currently, African swine fever (ASF) is one of the biggest global economic challenges in Europe and Asia. Despite all the efforts done to understand the mechanism of spread, presence and maintenance of ASF in domestic pigs and wild boar, there are still many gaps in the knowledge on its epidemiology.

This study aims to describe spatial and temporal patterns of ASF spread in wild boar and domestic pigs in the country during the last three years. Methods of Spatio-temporal scanning statistics of Kulldorff (SatScan) and Mann-Kendell statistics (space-time cube) were used to identify potential clusters of outbreaks and the presence of hot spots (areas of active flare clusters), respectively. The results showed that ASF in the country has a local epidemic pattern of spread (11 explicit clusters in wild boar and 16 epizootic clusters were detected in the domestic pig population: 11 in the European part and 5 in the Asian part), and only six of them are overlapped suggesting that ASF epidemics in domestic pigs and wild boar are two separate processes. In the Nizhny Novgorod, Vladimir, Ivanovo, Novgorod, Pskov, Leningrad regions, the clusters identified are characterized as sporadic epidemics clusters, while in the Ulyanovsk region, Primorsky Territory, and the Jewish Autonomous Region the clusters are consistent. Considering the low biosecurity level of pig holdings in the far east and its close economic and cultural connections with China as well as other potential risk factors, it can be expected that the epidemic will be present in the region for a long time. The disease has spread in the country since 2007, and now it is reoccurring in some of the previously affected regions. Outbreaks in the domestic pig sector can be localized easily (no pattern detected), while the presence of the virus in wildlife (several consecutive hot spots detected) hampers its complete eradication. Although the disease has different patterns of spread over the country its driving forces remain the same (human-mediated spread and wild boar domestic-pigs mutual spillover). The results indicate that despite all efforts taken since 2007, the policy of eradication of the disease needs to be reviewed, especially measures in wildlife.