Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious, viral disease that affects most ruminant and porcine species, and periodic outbreaks on Mongolia’s Eastern Steppe affect Mongolian gazelles (Procapra gutturosa) and livestock. During 2005–08, we collected sera from 36 and 57 calf and adult gazelles, respectively, and from adult domestic animals sympatric with the gazelles, including 138 sheep (Ovis aries), 140 goats (Capra aegagrus hircus), 139 Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus), and 138 cattle (Bos taurus). Our goal was to determine whether the prevalence of the antibody to foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) in gazelles declined relative to previous estimates in the absence of FMD outbreaks. Overall, 2.0%(95% CI 0.7–3.3%, n=555) of the four livestock species were antibody-positive for nonstructural proteins of FMDV (FMDV-NS), whereas 30.3% (95% CI 26.5–34.1%, n=555) had antibodies for structural proteins (i.e., vaccination-derived antibodies). Seven of 57 free-ranging gazelle calves (7.5%, 95% CI 1.6–12.4%) were FMDV-NS positive. None of 36 adult gazelles sampled in 2008 were antibody-positive for exposure to FMDV, indicating a significant decline (χ2=18.99; P<0.001; df=1) in antibody prevalence among gazelles from the same area during a livestock outbreak in 2001. The episodic nature of FMD outbreaks on the Eastern Steppe, Mongolia, with evidence of FMDV exposure in gazelles only during or following concurrent outbreaks in livestock, suggests that FMDV may spill over into the gazelle population during livestock outbreaks and that successful control of FMD on the Eastern Steppe requires a focus on control in livestock populations through vaccination.

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