Comparison of spatiotemporal patterns of historic natural Anthrax outbreaks in Minnesota and Kazakhstan

Kaushi S.T. Kanankege, Sarsenbay K. Abdrakhmanov, Julio Alvarez, Linda Glaser, Jeff B Bender, Yersyn Y. Mukhanbetkaliyev, Fedor I. Korennoy, Ablaikhan S. Kadyrov, Aruzhan S. Abdrakhmanova, Andres M Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Disease spread in populations is a consequence of the interaction between host, pathogen, and environment, i.e. the epidemiological triad. Yet the influences of each triad component may vary dramatically for different settings. Comparison of environmental, demographic, socio-economic, and historical backgrounds may support tailoring site-specific control measures. Because of the long-term survival of Bacillus anthracis, Anthrax is a suitable example for studying the influence of triad components in different endemic settings. We compared the spatiotemporal patterns of historic animal Anthrax records in two endemic areas, located at northern latitudes in the western and eastern hemispheres. Our goal was to compare the spatiotemporal patterns in Anthrax progression, intensity, direction, and recurrence (disease hot spots), in relation to epidemiological factors and potential trigger events. Reported animal cases in Minnesota, USA (n = 289 cases between 1912 and 2014) and Kazakhstan (n = 3,997 cases between 1933 and 2014) were analyzed using the spatiotemporal directionality test and the spatial scan statistic. Over the last century Anthrax occurrence in Minnesota was sporadic whereas Kazakhstan experienced a long-term epidemic. Nevertheless, the seasonality was comparable between sites, with a peak in August. Declining number of cases at both sites was attributed to vaccination and control measures. The spatiotemporal directionality test detected a relative northeastern directionality in disease spread for longterm trends in Minnesota, whereas a southwestern directionality was observed in Kazakhstan. In terms of recurrence, the maximum timespans between cases at the same location were 55 and 60 years for Minnesota and Kazakhstan, respectively. Disease hotspots were recognized in both settings, with spatially overlapping clusters years apart. Distribution of the spatiotemporal cluster radii between study sites supported suggestion of site-specific control zones. Spatiotemporal patterns of Anthrax occurrence in both endemic regions were attributed to multiple potential trigger events including major river floods, changes in land use, agriculture, and susceptible livestock populations. Results here help to understand the long-term epidemiological dynamics of Anthrax while providing suggestions to the design and implementation of prevention and control programs, in endemic settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0217144
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded in part by: 1) AMP: the Minnesota Discovery, Research, and Innovation Economy (MnDRIVE) program of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) of the University of Minnesota and 2) SKA: Scientific Thematic Zonification of Kazakhstan according to biosecurity categories with regard to dangerous infectious animal diseases under the Program #249 of funding scientific researches in agroindustry and environmental management by the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Kanankege et al. 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 author and source are credited.


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