Rapid Response to the Saiga Antelope Emergency in Western Kazakhstan
Mass mortality of Ural saiga in spring 2010
To frame the investigation the following hypotheses will be tested: 1) The proximate cause of the recent die-off of saiga antelope in western saiga was pasteurellosis. 2) The trigger for the apparent bacterial disease epidemic was a virus. 3) The saiga population was vulnerable to opportunistic infection due to untypical spatial aggregations and stress arising from changing or extreme environmental conditions. 4) The current die-off of saiga antelope was due to non-infectious disease.
Examine all pathological records and disease history to determine the probability of the proximate cause of death being due to pasteurellosis. Examine all pathological records and determine the probability of a viral component to the disease syndrome. Undertake serological surveillance of the recovered population for suspected recent infection with specific disease pathogens.
International disease workshop conducted to discuss results, a follow-up mission is planned for February 2012.
The proposed study builds on decades of global experience working with wild herbivore epidemio-surveillance and is designed to propose a scenario of possible causation and effect, and promote a standard in investigation of saiga health and disease in the event of future episodes.