Holarctic Marmots as a factor of Biodiversity.
Rumiantsev V.Yu;, Nikol'skii A.A. & Brandler O.V. eds.,
Abstracts of the
3d Conference on Marmots (Cheboksary, Russia, 25-30 August 1997), Moscow ABF 1997, 216p.

Additional information on plague in the central Tien Shan

Aikimbaev A.M., Ageev V.S. & Pole S.B.

Kazakh antiplague Research Institute Almaty, Kazakhstan

A systematic survey of human plague in the Central Tien Shan (Kirghizia) started in 1897 soon after the foundation of medical-observation post in the village of Atbashi. This infection, however was confirmed here bacteriologically only in 1907 in the course of the great epidemic (53 deaths) in the Atbashi and Naryn Valleys (Shendrikovski 1907, cited in Kalina 1936). We have found another source of information (Obzor Semirechenskoi oblasti za 1907 god. Verny, 1908, pp. 90-93) in which an anonymous author confirm this event in the article "Epidemics". The both authors point out that a hunter who trapped marmots in the high altitude Aksai Valley was the first man infected with plague.
Outbreaks of human plague in the above mentioned regions were registered in 1908, 1910, 1911 although the information on these epidemics was extremely scant (Kalina 1936, Kurayev et al. 1984). We have been lucky to discover the description of the 1911 epidemic in a short article "The pneumonic plague" (Obzor Semirechenskoi oblasti za 1911 god Verny 1912, p. 84) in which 8 men died of pneumonic plague in the Tokai-Bashi Gorge of the Atbashi zone of the Przhevalsk uyezed. "The exact cause of the disease has not been revealed", wrote anonymous author, "however, most probably the men had been infected by marmots which the Kirghiz hunters shoot and trap".
There is a rather detailed description of the plague epidemics in 1912 through 1929 (Kalina 1936, Kurayev et al. 1984). There have been no publications on plague since then.
No cases of human plague in the Central Tien Shan have been registrated since 1930 through 1941. According to unpublished data by V.P. Smirnov (1946), and V.N. Fyodorov (1946) the plague epidemic in 1942 took place from late in July to 17 August in Ak-Bulun and Kairma settlements (Novovoznesenski raion of the Issy-Kul oblast) as the result of which 8 men died. A horse-herd who tended grazing horses in the Momytor Gorge (the valley of Ottuk River, the southern micro-slope of the Terkei Alatau Range) was the first to fall ill. He did not feel quite well late in July and set out home to Ak-Bulun. He rode through the pass Chon-Ashu together with a chance fellow-traveller and spent night in a herdsman's yurt in the Kok-Kiya site (the northern micro-slope of the Terskei Alatau). They started the next day and the horse-herd died in Turgen Gorge 20 km from his home. His fellow-traveller brought the dead man to Ak-Bulun and rode to Kairma, when he died of pneumonic plague three days later. Then a woman who tended this sick man fell ill and died having infected 2 other women in the settlement. It was ascertained later that 2 women and a man had been infected in the Kok-Kiya site by contacting the first sick man in the place where he spent the night. The authors supposed that the first victim of the epidemic - the herdsmen - had been infected through a marmot flea bite.
Seven plague infected men have been registered in the Central Tien Shan during the following 54 years. These were quite isolated cases that did not lead to an anthroponotic spreading thanks to the early stage of revealing and proper treatment (Shmuter 1961, Vorotnikov 1974; The Kazakh Antiplague Research Inst. Archives, 1981). Over the above mentioned period of time plague infected people were registered in 1947, 1952, 1957, 1958, 1965 and 1981 (2 cases) and they occurred in the valley of the Aksai River (3 cases), in the upper reaches of the Naryn River (3 cases) and in the basin of the Saryzhas River. They were registered in June-August and resulted from contacts with infected marmots.
The plague infected people revealed in 1965 and 1981 were considered to be the indicators of enzootic. A special survey of the supposed places of their infection made it possible to find the before unknown the Bolgart and the Ulan-Karakol areas of plague focality in the Naryn River Basin.

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