Occurrence outbreak of tularemia in steppe ecosystems of the North-Western coast of the Black Sea due to impact of the famine in 1946–1949

I. Rusev, V. Vinnik, D. Radkov

Ukrainian Antiplague Research Institute named after I. I. Mechnikov
4, Tserkovna St., Odessa 65003, Ukraine
rusevivan@ukr.net

The famine in the USSR in 1946–1949 has provoked unprecedented cases of wasting and deaths of the people, who were forced to eat any field food to survive. One of the main sources of livelihood of the hungry people in the North-Western coast of the Black Sea were gophers and other mass species of rodents. The most popular and ubiquitous source of food in the autumn-winter period were reserves steppe mouse (Mus hortulanus Nordmann, 1840), which were formed these rodents in specially constructed burial mounds in the amount of from 15 to 25 kg, and contained a variety of seeds and vegetative part of wild and cultivated plants. A broad, diffuse, mass distribution and a surge in the number of rodents in these areas was the main source of infection of people especially dangerous infection - tularemia. It is in 1947–1949, on the background of high abundance of small rodents among them was marked by intensive on the scale of distribution, never depicted earlier in the history of the region, epizootic tularemia, as well as mass outbreaks among people, covering practically all areas of Vinnitsa, Odessa, Izmail region, Kirovograd and Moldavia.


Keywords: tularemia, steppe mouse, North-Western coast of the Black sea, famine of 1946–1949 in USSR


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