28 December 2005; latest amendments  on 2 June 2012





V. Kouba

Formerly: Czechoslovak Chief Epizootiologist and Vice-Director, State Veterinary Service, Prague and Professor of Epizootiology, University of Veterinary Sciences, Brno




The paper describes successful application of a new original method against foot-and-mouth disease panzootic wave based on extensive and very long double-barrier combining belt without FMD susceptible species animals with vaccinated zone under vast desert and steppe conditions. In 1964 Mongolian economy suffered catastrophic losses due to  foot-and-mouth disease rapidly spreading from eastern borders towards central territories. There were reported about 2 million diseased animals in a territory of 300 thousand km2. All the measures, such as aphtization (1.5 million animals), territorial isolations and quarantines were not in the position to stop this wave. On Mongolian request it was sent a Czechoslovak veterinary expedition which elaborated a strategy, agreed and implemented by Mongolian authorities, of double-barrier going from Chinese to Soviet borders. For the vaccination it was used Czechoslovak vaccine which proved to be compatible with local virus strain. The width of strictly controlled belt without susceptible species animals was up to 80 km and the vaccination belt of 100-300 km width. Double-barrier length  was more than one thousand km adjusted to local epizootiological situation. The aphtization  was stopped and replaced by vaccination including also intrafocal animals. From 790 thousand vaccinated animals 448 thousand were vaccinated by the expedition itself. After creating the barrier the disease wave was stopped and the outbreaks eradicated. The task of the expedition  to assist to Mongolian government in eradicating foot and mouth disease was fulfilled successfully.



1. Introduction


a) At the end of 1963 foot and mouth disease (FMD) was discovered in eastern part of Mongolia rapidly spreading to the west. Enormous losses in cattle, sheep, goats and camels with catastrophic impact on Mongolian economy due to the FMD were multiplied by another natural disaster caused by extraordinary amount of snow covering the grazing land and thus preventing animals from access to only source of feed. In March 1964 Mongolian government asked Czechoslovak government for help in controlling and eradicating panzootic FMD  spreading from eastern frontier with China. That time there were reported already about 600 thousand FMD cases.


b) Czechoslovak government decided by its resolution No. 163 of 20 March 1964 to sent without any delay requested help to Mongolia earmarking 2.5 million Kčs (about 250 thousand USD)  for the expedition staff, travel expenses and material. The realization was assigned to the Minister of Agriculture, as responsible for veterinary service, in cooperation with the Minister of Defence (to help with material provisions from army stores). During several days there were selected veterinarian-volunteers having  practical experience with FMD diagnosis, epizootiology and measures, being in good health and having necessary physical conditions to withstand harsh Mongolian nature, creating an expedition of specialists to act against FMD directly on-the-spot. Other condition was to have driving licence. Simultaneously, it was collected from different sources (stores of State Veterinary Service, Civil Defence and army) and bought from normal shops necessary equipment and material for veterinary expedition to be sent to Mongolia. MVDr Václav Kouba, Czechoslovak Chief Epizootiologist and Vice-director, State Veterinary Service assumed the  responsibility for the expedition preparation, selection of the experts, equipage, food supplies (with long expiration) for several months , human and veterinary medicaments, anti-FMD vaccine, means of transport, identification of effective anti-FMD methods feasible under local conditions, programme planning and practical realization in coordination with Mongolian authorities and for the final results. The urgency required operational approach through direct personal contacts/communication and immediate decisions without any bureaucratic paper work. Very simple accounting and inventory proved to be sufficient. Due to emergency it was impossible for the expedition members to pass all necessary preventive vaccinations; therefore, the expedition was provided with major amount of gammaglobulin for preventive applications together with many human medicaments for curative treatment. The task was the expedition to be fully equipped to can work as an independent unit, as far as the food and material supply as well as own transport means were concerned, during several months.


More information see in the part 3. Equipment.


c) The paper is based on the report of Czechoslovak veterinary expedition sent to Mongolia, information provided by Mongolian veterinary service (Dr Ts. Sugarragchaa, 1964), publications of expedition participants (MVDr Kouba 1964, 1965 and 1994; MVDr Pospíchal 1965 and 1994; MVDr Ševčík 1964 and 1965), on personal experience of the author who headed the expedition and of MVDr Jurák, member of the expedition carrying out also medical service for the expedition and local Mongolian human patients.


2. FMD epizootiological situation in Mongolia


a) At the end of 1963 the FMD penetrated from Chinese Dalaj-Nur lake area into Mongolian eastern ajmaks (provinces) – Eastern ajmak and Suchebator ajmak - through immense herds of antelopes (dzerens) including also virus carriers and clinically sick animals. These herds were moving westward due to organized hunting during October and November 1963 and extraordinary snowstorms in December 1963.


b) FMD spreading was facilitated by: the impossibility to isolate effectively diseased animals, non disposing dead animals, late discovery and reporting new cases, late application of anti-FMD measures, etc. Among other factors facilitating FMD spread belonged uncontrolled movement of persons, nomadic type of livestock husbandry in permanent  movement in the open air, contacts of domestic with wild  animals on pastures and at water pools, long distance movement of wild animals such antelopes, wolfs and vultures, strong winds, sand storms,  etc.. 


c) In December 1963 there were set up high level anti-FMD commissions at ministerial level and in all ajmaks and somons (districts)) as well as a central FMD commission of specialists. The government mobilized herdsmen, public, national and local authorities, relevant organizations, professional organizations, institutions and national army manpower as well as material sources needed to eradicate this plague declaring FMD eradication as national priority task.


d) There were created isolation quarantines of somons and of total territories of individual ajmaks applying usually three belts of  sentinels (two belts of civil guards and central belt secured by national army posts). There were organized “anti-FMD belts without susceptible species animals”.  The borders between affected and non-affected ajmaks were closed and controlled by army units. Government mobilized the army to prove staff and equipment (military camions, airplanes, helicopters, disinfection units, etc.). The control was concentrated more on movement of persons than on free-moving animals. Nomadic territorial movement in affected and threatened territories was reduced or stopped.


e) The aphtization (artificial infection) of cattle, sheep, goats and camels was carried out in all somons where  FMD  appeared. For the aphtization fresh saliva of 2-3 days sick animals diluted in 1:10 and 1:20  was used. There were aphtizated about 1,492,000 animals representing enormous number of passages, i.e. enormous reproduction of infection agent. Spontaneously became sick, according to incomplete statistics, about 572,000 animals.


f) Mass application of the aphtization in Mongolia had several reasons:


aa) this method was traditionally used as only specific anti-FMD method and in particular when available vaccines had proved to be for particular situation ineffective;


bb)  artificial infection accelerated disease course shortening the duration of the outbreaks measures, in particular where natural disease had slow course;


cc)  this method was simple and cheap creating usually long-lasting FMD type-specific immunity;


dd) extensive aphtization simplified and limited size of quarantine measures mainly on the  borders of threatened zones where it could be concentrated more forces and resources.


g) On the other hand the aphtization had many disadvantages:


aa) This method caused artificial reproduction of FMD virus in huge amount and thus from small outbreaks were created great ones very difficult to cope with when using only quarantine measures;


bb) this method, instead of healthy animal protection, caused FMD disease of hundreds of thousands of animals with all negative consequences, mainly deaths and reduced  performance;


cc) after the aphtization often became diseased not all animals of the herd, i.e. the herd immunity was insufficient (in some cases, even several months after the aphtization, the FMD broke out again);


dd) extraordinary high morbidity facilitated FMD penetration among wild animals and thus  the risk of  crossing quarantine zones became higher;


ee) artificial infection represented  artificial passages of the virus in great number of susceptible animals, which could cause increase of virus virulence eventually virus mutation changes.


f) To reduce the losses of young animals serum or citrated blood of recovered animals were used. The blood was collected in big amount and distributed to distant somons and other ajmaks which represented de facto one of potential transmission ways of other dangerous diseases to remote localities. The doses were for calves 1-3 ml per kg of live weight of convalescent serum or 2-4 ml per kg of live weight of citrate blood and for adult animals 500-1000 ml.


g) There were established disinfection centres, mainly at the borders of affected somons, ajmaks as well as at airports and main routes. For gas disinfection it was used paraformaldehyde vapour (produced in DUK camions), for liquid disinfection formalin, eventually caustic soda. The disinfection of persons was usually carried out in specially adjusted yurts, for disinfection of clothing and different articles were used camions with paraformaldehyde boxroom. There were constructed simple provisional big field impermeable rooms for gas disinfection of cars and camions.


h) No vaccine compatible with local FMD virus strain was available. Therefore, in all even-toed ungulates of Onon state ranches of Eastern ajmak and cattle in four somons close to western border of Suchebator ajmak  was carried out experimental vaccination using Omsk monovalent lapinized vaccine against FMD serotype O (expecting close territorial relation with the Mongolian FMD strain). This vaccination was carried out in January 1964 in 60,349 animals. In spite of this vaccination a month later the FMD was discovered in all five vaccinated territories in 40 herds. Therefore, it was decided to stop using this vaccine and to continue applying the aphtization and quarantines only.


i) Use of “stamping out” method was under existing conditions unrealistic.


j) All staff of Mongolian veterinary service was mobilized including 5-year students from Veterinary Faculty, Ulaanbaatar University. Mongolian top level specialists were dispatched to affected provinces – Prof.Dr Zana, Dean of Veterinary Faculty (in Suchebator ajmak), Prof.Dr Baldandaz, Academy of Science (in Chentej ajmak) and Dr Gruza (in Eastern ajmak). Mongolian army was also mobilized to participate in anti-FMD “war” following the instructions of State Anti-FMD Commission and of Dr Sugaraagchaa, Chief Veterinary Officer.


k) Soviet anti-FMD expedition (Chief – Dr Mustafajev) was working in Chentej ajmak using Omsk FMD O type vaccine and trying to produce “on-the-spot” a lapinized vaccine from local Mongolian strain (author - Dr Kozlovskij). This vaccine was evaluated on 8 May 1964 in Dadal somon by an international commission of specialists including Dr Kouba and Dr Fedák from Czechoslovak expedition; the results were unsatisfactory and therefore this vaccine was not more used for field vaccination. Other expedition was from Bulgaria in Suchebator Ajmak (Chief – Dr Ivanov) involved in quarantine measures and aphtization.


l) In February 1964 the FMD further spread rapidly to the west  deep into Chentej ajmak and also into East-Gobi ajmak, i.e. affecting all four eastern provinces. The size of FMD territory reached more than 300,000 km2. It was registered also spread of 360 km distance from original outbreak during only two weeks.


Note: The East-Gobi ajmak, where Czechoslovak anti-FMD expedition started working, of 110,000 km2 size were that time 14,000 inhabitants in 14 somons (average distance about 100-140 km). In this ajmak there were only 3 medical centres and one hospital (2 medical doctors in the capital Sajshand), 4 veterinary centres with 10 veterinarians and 36 animal health assistants. Provincial anti-FMD Commission sent 400 people to guard the routes with average distances of 8 km.


m) All the anti-FMD measures were unable to stop the huge FMD panzootic wave penetrating rapidly into other Mongolian territories.


n) In March 1964 there were reported already about 600 thousand new FMD natural cases. Therefore, Mongolian government asked for international help in controlling and eradicating panzootic FMD  spreading from eastern frontiers. Czechoslovak government reacted immediately and sent an expedition of 16  specialists in FMD.


3) Czechoslovak veterinary expedition


a) Task of the expedition:


To help in stopping FMD panzootic wave penetrating toward central  territories and in eradicating existing outbreaks.


b) Expedition staff arrived by normal commercial flight in Ulaanbaatar on 13 April 1964, i.e. only three weeks after Czechoslovak government decision *):


Chief: MVDr Václav Kouba, CSc., Czechoslovak Chief Epizootiologist and Technical Vice-Director, State Veterinary Service


Deputy Chief:  MVDr Miroslav Pospíchal, Jihlava Province Chief Veterinary Officer  (he took the lead of the expedition after Dr Kouba’s departure on 21 June 1964)


Members: MVDr Jaroslav Bukovský (OVZ Košice), MVDr Evžen Jurák (OVZ Hradec Králové), MVDr Václav Maršálek (OVZ Plzen-Jih), MVDr Štefan Marton (OVZ Levice), MVDr Karel Peštál (OVZ Břeclav), MVDr Bohumil Ševčík (OVZ Praha-Jih), MVDr Alfons Urbanec (OVZ Pelhřimov); MVDr Jan Černovský (ÚSVÚ Brno) - responsible for mobile diagnostic laboratory.


Supporting staff: Ondrej Kolesár (OVZ Košice) - veterinary assistant, Miroslav Matouš (Ministry of Agriculture) - camion driver responsible for expedition base maintenance and material supply, Josef Ruban - laboratory technician and Arnošt Smutný -laboratory driver and responsible for its maintenance – both from ÚSVÚ Brno.


MVDr Roman Fedák and MVDr František Láznička from National FMD Reference Laboratory in Terezin responsible for testing Czechoslovak vaccine compatibility with  local Mongolian FMD virus O field strain. The vaccine arrived separately by two Czechoslovak government planes together with material for expedition work and with two thousand litres of FMD vaccine requiring special protective heating treatment against  frost during overnight stopovers at Siberian airports.


Examples of partial responsibilities: Dr Pospíchal – tools for territory orientation, hunting and fishing; Dr Jurák – human medical service; Dr Bukovský – sanitation; Dr Marton – vaccine; Dr Maršálek – instruments; Dr Peštál – diagnostics; Dr Urbanec – proviant; Dr Ševčík – veterinary medicaments.


*) The extraordinary speedy preparation of the expedition staff and equipment was made possible mainly thanks to the consistent preparedness of Czechoslovak government veterinary service for anti-epizootic emergency against the most dangerous animal diseases (such as FMD).


c) Equipment  


a) imported by two Czechoslovak government twin-engined propeller planes arriving after five days flight in Ulaanbaatar on 14 April 1964 (every evening at all airport stopovers it must be arranged for inside-plan-heating to avoid the FMD vaccine to be frozen, mainly due to Siberian severe frost; responsibility: Dr Roman Fedák and Dr František Láznička who were accompanying this specific cargo):


aa) Full equipped mobile kitchen (with dishes and  long-lasting, i.e. non-perishable foodstuffs - canned food, dehydrated food such as vegetables, potatoes, etc.), tents and other material needed for expedition work and life in very difficult conditions of desert Gobi, steppe and tundra; different instruments (including automatic syringes) and medicaments, sanitary facilities, uniform clothing for expedition members *) including protective clothing and footwear for harsh climatic conditions **), signal materials for day and night (suitable radio-communication devices were not available – offered ones were too heavy and bulky with only up 70 km action radius), cleansing and disinfection means, maintenance material, leather bags, haversacks, flasks, canteens, hunting and fishing equipments (for self-supplying by fresh meat – antelopes, bustards, partridges, fish such as taimen), etc.


bb) The equipment included one military command tent (used as the store, kitchen and social/meeting room), seven tourist two-persons’ tents (first Gobi storm destroyed them and it was necessary to replace them by normal Mongolian yurts proved to be stormproof), 16 quilted sleeping bags, 16 rubber air mattresses, 2 folding metal tables and 12 folding seats.


cc) In 6 tone cargo for the expedition there were also two thousand litres of bivalent O+A anti-FMD vaccine. Later it was imported additionally two thousand litres to meet increasing needs to cover all the buffer territories and intrafocal applications.


*) Every member was provided by:

2 work overalls, 1 cap, 1 pair of knee-boots, 1 pair of winter felt shoes, 1 winter overall (tunic), 1 winter trousers, 1 raincoat, 1 fur hat with earflaps, 2 pairs of winter cloth (worn instead of socks), 2 pairs of summer cloths, 1 pair of mitten gloves, 1 pair of knitted gloves and 1 complete antichemical protection clothing (for intrafocal work).


**) Note: The temperature differences between daily heats and night frosts were up to about 50o C; e.g. in vaccination starting day  on 24 April 1964 in Erdene Somon,  Gobi desert at Chinese borders, the midday temperature reached 45o  C (many of expedition members suffered by second grade of burns – vesicles on auricle tips) and in the night – 8 o C = requiring particular protection of the vaccine against freeze).


dd) All the material for the expedition was stored in a store room prepared by the Mongolian Ministry of Agriculture.


b) Imported by train:


Mobile diagnostic laboratory with electricity generator arrived on 12 May 1964 (forgotten water caused crack during Siberian frost – reparation arranged with difficulties).


c) Material bought in Irkutsk - Soviet border city (avoiding very long-run  train transport from Czechoslovakia which would delay start of expedition work):


six cross-country vehicles (GAZ) and one 6-ton camion ZIL  arrived on 18 April 1964; 40 doses of specific antisera against local Mongolian venomous snakes (e.g. gjurza in dry areas, effa in humid area) obtained from Serum Institute, Omsk, Soviet Union (these sera were that time not available in Central Europe).


d) All above mentioned material (including mobile laboratory) was of Czechoslovak provenience with the exception of Polish automatic syringes and Soviet Union cross-country vehicles, camion and antisera against Mongolian venomous snakes.


4) Mongolian counterpart:


a) National counterpart was represented mainly by Dr Sugarraagchaa, Mongolian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Perenge, Chief Epizootiologist and Dr Cendehu, Epizootiologist.


b) Czechoslovak concept for FMD eradication was dealt also with Dr Endonduychiv, Government Procurator and Chairman of Government Extraordinary anti-FMD Commission, Dr Baldziniam, Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ajush, Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Dr Serendza, Vice-President of State Planning Commission, Prof. Dr Baldandaz, Mongolian Academy of Science, etc.. Russian language was used for bilateral communication.


c) The expedition was supplemented by supporting Mongolian drivers and veterinarians-interpreters together with three cross-country vehicles (GAZ). Mongolian part provided fuel, yurts, maps, guiding to find dispersed herds for vaccination and helping in organizing animal catching, fixing and marking.


5) Concept of Czechoslovak anti-FMD strategy:


a) Chief of the expedition presented to Mongolian government a proposal for FMD eradication based on modern epizootiological concept consisting in complex protection of FMD-free territories mainly through the vaccination of FMD susceptible species animals and thus to create wide protective zones. This plan, in local conditions understood as “revolutionary”, was pushed through only after very successful application of Czechoslovak vaccine under field conditions and after its experimental testing.


b) The concept was based on immediate and uncompromising isolation of infected territories and outbreak areas, consistent complex intrafocal  and perifocal measures, rigorous epizootiological surveillance, immediate diagnosis of suspect cases (including virus  typing), intensive clinical and epizootiological investigation to identify the limits of the outbreaks, perifocal and threatened zones, prevention of threatened  territories expanding protective belts without FMD susceptible species animals combined with mass vaccination in threatened zones.


c) The concept required to strengthen  significantly existing isolation quarantines of somons and of total territories of individual ajmaks applying  three belts of  sentinels. Other requirement was to expand “anti-FMD belts without susceptible species animals” up to 80 km of width. All domestic animals to be driven away from this territory and wild animals susceptible to FMD to be chased or hunted.


d) It was suggested to create 100 – 300 km wide vaccination barrier (adjusted to epizootiological situation and local conditions) of about one thousand km  from Chinese  to Soviet borders. For this purpose it was available Czechoslovak vaccine against FMD which proved to be very effective, even inside of FMD outbreaks replacing traditional aphtization.


e) The concept was accepted by Mongolian government and widely applied by national managerial infrastructure, first of all by state veterinary service. Exemplary participation of Czechoslovak veterinary expedition was obvious.


6) Vaccination


a) Expedition members participated in applying anti-FMD measures at national, ajmak and somon levels as well as inside of outbreaks, including FMD diagnosis. The main activity was the realization of Czechoslovak plan to create vaccinated buffer zone along affected territory. The vaccination started in Erdene somon at Chinese borders and continued northward up to Soviet borders.


b) With Czechoslovak bivalent anti-FMD type O+A vaccine produced in Bioveta Terezin (Klobouk, 1951; Dombek, 1955) using Waldmann method (Waldmann and Zimmerman, 1955) there were vaccinated about 790 thousand animals. Czechoslovak expedition itself vaccinated from April to October  448 thousand animals (147 thousand in East-Gobi ajmak and 301 thousand in Chentej ajmak). The expedition vaccinated 12,029 camels, 59,683 cattle, 334,192 sheep, 41,571 goats and 305 pigs. See Table 1. The percentages of young animals from total vaccinated ones were as follows: in camels – 12.84 %, in cattle – 17.41 %, in sheep – 24.28 %  and in goats – 19.87 %.


c) Doses of Czechoslovak vaccine: camel – 15 ml, adult cattle – 10 ml, calf – 5 ml, adult sheep – 3 ml, lamb – 2 ml, adult goat – 3 ml, kid – 2 ml.


Example: In East-Gobi ajmak it was created a vaccinated belt of 350 km length and up to 80 km width consuming 500 litres of vaccine.


 After successful prove of Czechoslovak vaccine effectivity and after starting mass vaccination replacing aphtization, it was necessary to demand Czechoslovak government for sending further 2,000 litres. Additional vaccine was sent without any delay.


d) The vaccination programme was complicated by great distances between herds and lack of normal roads (obstacles such as sand dunes, gorges, sand storms), i.e. difficulties with the orientation in the vast desert causing sometimes loosing the way *). Finding, concentrating, catching dispersed **)  and fixing semi-wild free-grazing animals (in desert Gobi there were not trees; for cattle and camels the horsemen used lasso attached to a long pole) represented extraordinary difficulties. Particular problems were animal evidence and marking vaccinated animals to be distinguished from non-vaccinated ones in the same herd (separation was impossible) and to be seen from horseman saddle; for the marking there were used  animal excrements diluted by the urine – “bas”.  Professional car service facilities were absent (e.g. problems with fine-grained sand penetrated into motors) and all reparations were carried out as provisional “self-service”.


*) The expedition being without any radio-communication tools was completely isolated from the surrounding “world” and the vaccination groups when working were isolated as well. Missing radio-communication created managerial problems when organizing the vaccination and during expedition transfer to new localities.


**) Once a Gobi herd of camels could not be vaccinated  - it crossed the borders (classical physical obstacles not existing) into China.


e) Other problem was with officially reported numbers of animals to be vaccinated and the reality which usually was higher – the farmers brought all animals to be vaccinated being afraid of loosing them due to the FMD (therefore it was necessary to bring vaccine reserve – up to 20% - expecting this factor). The daily working time was sometimes difficult to forecast and some groups returned late evening or even in the night to the  expedition camp – signal pistols were  often used (distant visibility in Gobi was very good – no clouds and in starlit night there were visible even moving satellites).


f) The vaccination was organized in groups of 2-3 veterinarians working separately  in 3-5 herds in different places (farms). Average work load see in Table 3. Working moral and discipline were very good.


g) Every cross-country vehicle served for one group of veterinarians going to vaccinate and was provided  by: necessary amount of vaccine (calculated according to expected number of animals + reserve), vaccination equipment, food, beverage, one shotgun with cartridges for hunting along the “road”; signal pistol with cartridges for day signals (colour smokes) and night signals (flares) important for the orientation of disperse vaccination groups in a territory without orientation points in a plane of vast desert; binocular, compass, maps (if available), etc..


h) Every day there were assigned, applying rotation system, two expedition members to be  responsible for preparation of warm and cold meals (using base kitchen) and other daily needs of the expedition (including maintenance, reparations). Kitchen regime was as follows: breakfast preparation, main meal preparation, eventually to prepare meat and other foodstuff for next day, to assure water for cooking, washing and  cleaning. In the Gobi  there were serious difficulties to get drink water. Lack of fresh vitamins was partially replaced by using Gobi desert wild onion available in some localities. (Salted tea was the most suitable drink to quench staff thirst in desert heats.). Hunting and fishing was almost daily activities to get fresh meat. The expedition was given by the local authorities once a ram and once a pig. Be on guard protecting the camp was obvious rotation duty (e.g. against predators such as wolves – one who was hunting around expedition tents during the night was trapped on 28 April 1964).


 i) All member were accommodated  in the expedition base (the first camp was located close to an artesian well) and daily taken to indicated farms and herds by GAZ cars. Work planning depended mainly on organizational arrangement carried out by local authorities, representatives of cooperatives as well as quarantine measures and supply of the vaccine. The main effort was to vaccinate animals in FMD threatened territories as soon as possible. Therefore, there were not respected any weekends or normal daily working hours. On the other hand there were time losses during long transfers to other distant localities or due to deficiencies in the activities organized by local authorities.


j) Sometimes, when making stopover in ajmak or somon centres, the expedition staff was accommodated in local dormitories and exploited the chance to refill food supplies purchasing e.g. meat and milk products. Mongolian counterpart was responsible for  taking up propellants.


k) Among the obstacles belonged: extraordinary heat, strong wind and sand storms as well as lack of drinking water in Gobi; frost, snow and river floods (complicating up to preventing cars from crossing the watercourse) in northern part of country; lack of suitable routes; lack of emergency service to repair expedition transport means; lack of suitable maps (there was only one big school map of Mongolia without any details); lack of long distance communication; difficulties with concentrating and fixing animals; etc.


7) Study of Czechoslovak vaccine compatibility with local Mongolian FMD  strains


a) Dr Fedák and Dr Láznička of Czechoslovak FMD Reference Laboratory worked isolated in Erdene Somon (the warmest locality in Mongolia) at Chinese borders. They were studying under primitive conditions the compatibility of Czechoslovak anti-FMD vaccine with local Mongolian FMD strain provided by Mongolian biofactory in Sangino. The first experiment using 12 heads of cattle vaccinated applying 10 ml doses was carried out on 29 April 1964 and infected on 15 May 1964 simultaneously with non-vaccinated 12 heads of cattle as control animals. This test was inconclusive due to weakened  virulence of the virus provisionally stored in 4 m depth (freezer or refrigerator were not available) which was unable to produce required FMD clinical signs even among control cattle - not vaccinated.. Members of State FMD Commission attended the experiment in Erdene Somon on 22 May 1964 and decided to repeat the test *)..


*) The evaluation was attended by: Dr Sugarraagchaa, Chief Veterinary Officer, Prof.Dr Baldandaš, Prof. Dr Zana (both from Ulaanbaatar University), president of the province, president of the region, director of Salgino biological factory and representant of local authority; Czechoslovak expedition was represented by Dr Kouba, Dr Láznička a Dr Fedák; Soviet expedition was represented by Dr Mustafajev a Dr Kozlovski.


b) Therefore, both Czechoslovak specialists were moved from Erdene to Oenderchan, Chentej Ajmak where all necessary laboratory facilities (including Czechoslovak mobile laboratory) for storing of and working with the FMD virus were available. Repeated experiment on 18 June 1964 proved the compatibility of Czechoslovak vaccine with locally isolated field FMD strains labelled as Chentej and Gobi strains. Czechoslovak mobile laboratory refrigerator was used for their storing. In order to increase the virus virulence it was necessary to use a passage through several heads of cattle. Afterwards, there were infected animals of the experiment, i.e. vaccinated and control healthy animals by a 20 % suspension of freshly gain virus material. All animals were systematically controlled several days before and during the experiment (clinically including thermometry several times a day). The result was that all  not vaccinated animals manifested FMD clinical symptoms while the vaccinated ones not. In this way the required efficacy and safety of Czechoslovak vaccine was confirmed without any doubts.


The official evaluation  commission was almost the same as in Erdene somon. Dr Černovský responsible for the mobile laboratory was supporting the professional work of Dr Láznička and Dr Fedák.


c) From that moment the doubts of Mongolian authorities stopped and it was decided to accept fully Czechoslovak strategy and tactics. Then the vaccine was used as the only one in all anti-FMD campaign also by national veterinary service and by other international expeditions. Amount of originally imported vaccine proved to be insufficient and it was necessary to supplement it by further import from Czechoslovakia (2,000 litres) using its anti-epizootic reserves.


8) Sanitary assistance:


a) The expedition was well supplied also with human medicaments from the home country. Sanitary help was provided to the expedition personal including Mongolian guides and drivers as well as to somon people where the expedition was working. Gamaglobuline was three times  prophylactically applied to all expedition members. Sanitary assistance consisted mainly in treatment of wounds and  gastroenteritis cases. Once all expedition members were affected by diarrhoea, fever and general clinical symptoms (weakness, headache, muscle ache, etc.). The disease had infectious character which agent was sensitive to tetracycline antibiotics (Tetracycline, Oxymycoide). Otherwise sanitary status of all expedition members was satisfactory during the whole stay in Mongolia.


b) Due to the fact that until then in the majority of somons there were no any medical doctors, sanitary help was provided by the expedition also to local inhabitants. The majority of treated cases were diseases of eyes, of digestive track, of respiratory track and wounds. The expedition treated in total  332 diseased persons (Bajandraga somon – 108 persons, Binder somon – 86 persons, Omnedelger somon – 56 persons and Onderchan state ranch – 82 persons). In Bojanadraga somon, where due to quarantine measures it was impossible to supply the medicaments as before, some medicaments were given to local medical assistant from expedition sources.


Example: There was one case of young Mongolian boy in agony after being bitten by a venomous snake “effa”. Thanks to rapid intervention of Dr Jurák applying specific antiserum in major doses the boy’s life was saved.  


9) Conclusion


a) Huge panzootic FMD wave was stopped and remaining outbreaks were eradicated during only few weeks.


b) The eradication had also long-term, i.e. multiplying effect: during following 33 years Mongolia was free of this extremely dangerous disease saving many generations of national animal populations from FMD and thus contributing to national animal production increase in terms of quantity and quality. This was confirmed by Prof.Dr Badarchiin Byambaa, Rector, Mongolian State University of Agriculture, Ulaanbaatar informing at the occasion of his visit at Czech Agriculture University, Prague on 5 April 2006 that the following FMD cases were reported only in 1997.


c) The success of Czechoslovak expedition anti-FMD strategy was made possible only thanks to perfect cooperation with Mongolian counterpart, intensive and devoted work of strong, well organized  and competent Mongolian public veterinary service, support and effective participation of farmers and public, full understandings and involvement of Mongolian national and local authorities with the aim to save livestock population and production as the backbone of national economy.


d) The contribution of Czechoslovak veterinary expedition to saving national livestock was highly appreciated by Mongolian government.


e) All Czechoslovak anti-FMD assistance was provided free-of-charge.


f) The task of the expedition to help in stopping FMD panzootic wave and in eradicating existing outbreaks was fulfilled successfully.


g) This was the most important  and the most successful international expedition of Czechoslovak veterinary service history.



Note:  At the end all material, including transport means and mobile laboratory, was left for next  Czechoslovak expeditions against brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis and  glanders organized according to detailed project prepared by Dr Kouba (Czechoslovakia), Prof.Dr Yarympyl and Dr Celendash (Mongolia),  Prof. Dr Czenczev (Bulgaria) and Prof. Karpishov (Soviet Union). The project was cleared by Scientific-methodological Conference of CMEA member countries’ specialists in Ulaanbaatar, 2-14 March 1965 (after proposal explanation and defense by Dr Kouba). The project was implemented during next three years (1966-1968) in all 16 provinces of Mongolia by the expeditions from different countries. Czechoslovak expedition planned to be  located in Central Mongolia, ajmaks Bulgan and Uvurchangay and to use also the mobile laboratory imported for anti-FMD expedition in 1964.  Czechoslovak diagnostic expedition started in 1965 under the leadership of experienced Dr Evžen Jurák who had participated in anti-FMD expedition a year before. More information see in http://vaclavkouba.byl.cz/babmongolia.htm and http://vaclavkouba.byl.cz/zoonoses-mongolia.htm.




DOMBEK, R. et col. (1955). Očkovací látky proti slintavce a kulhavce, jejich výroba a kontrola. (Anti-FMD vaccine production). In Czech. VIII sjezd čsl. hygieniků, epidemiologů a infekcionistů: 437-477

ČERNOVSKÝ, J., ŠEVČÍK, B. 1965: Poznatky z diagnostických akcí v Mongolsku. (Experience of diagnostic actions in Mongolia). In Czech. Veterinářství XV: 249-252

EXPEDITION STAFF 1964: Zpráva o činnosti československé veterinární expedice v Mongolské lidové republice.  (Report of Czechoslovak veterinary expedition in Mongolia). In Czech. Veterinární odbor ministerstva zemědělství, lesního a vodního hospodářství: 38 pp

JISL L. 1960, Mongolei. Kunst und Tradition. In German. Arta Praha. 144 pp

KLOBOUK, A. (1951). Slintavka a kulhavka, její příznaky, diagnosa a biologická opatření proti jejímu šíření. (FMD symptoms, diagnosis and biological measures). In Czech. Veterinářství I: 49-54

KOUBA, V. 1964: Diary notes of the Chief of Czechoslovak anti-FMD expedition

KOUBA, V. 1964: Zpráva z cesty do Mongolské lidové republiky. (Report on duty travel in Mongolia). In Czech. Veterinární odbor ministerstva zeměděství. 27 pp

KOUBA, V. 1964: K veterinární problematice v Mongolské lidové republice. (Veterinary problems in Mongolia). In Czech. Veterinářství, XIV:387-391

KOUBA, V., POSPÍCHAL  M., ŠEVČÍK, B.  1965: Zkušenosti s tlumením slintavky v Mongolsku. (Experience of FMD control in  Mongolia). In Czech. Veterinářství, XV: 165-167

KOUBA, V. , POSPÍCHAL, M. 1994: Protislintavková expedice v Mongolsku. (Anti-FMD expedition in Mongolia). In Czech. Veterinářství, XLIV,11: 542

KOUBA, V. 2005: Food and mouth disease: panzootic wave in Mongolia blocked by double barrier. CENTAUR. http://centaur.vri.cz/default.asp?page=news/writtenfor.asp

KOUBA, V. 2006: Double barrier strategy against foot-and-mouth disease panzootic wave successfully applied under Mongolian conditions. Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica, Prague. Vol. 39 (1): 18-22

POSPÍCHAL, M. 1964: Deník zástupce vedoucího protislintavkové expedice (Diary of the Vice-chief of anti-FMD expedition)

SUGARRAGCHAA, Ts. 1964: Personal information.

ŠEVČÍK, B. 1965: Zajímavosti z chovu zvířat v Mongolsku. (Animal production in Mongolia). In Czech. Veterinářství, XV: 167-169

WALDMANN, J. and ZIMMERMAN, N. (1955): Preparation d’un vaccine anti-aphteux selon la methode de Waldmann et Koebe en employent le veau comme source d’antigéne. Bull. OIE, 43:723-730











Tab. 1


















Number of animals vaccinated by Czechoslovak expedition according to individual somons in Mongolia, 1964





































East-Gobi Ajmak:
























































































Chentej Ajmak:













































































Grand Total











Tab. 2




















Work performance of Czechoslovak expedition during anti-FMD vaccination in East-Gobi 



and Chentej ajmaks, Mongolia, 1964

















Number of vaccinations




























of 10 veterinarians









in 98 working days



















of 10 veterinarians









per one working day



















per one veterinarian









in 98 working days



















per one veterinarian









in one working day









































Tab. 3






















Comparison of animal mortality due to natural and artificial infection by foot-and-mouth disease virus,


Eastern Mongolia, 1964 (data provided by Mongolian government veterinary service)





















Number of dead due to     infection


















































































































Tab. 4


The time course of the Czechoslovak expedition against foot and mouth disease in Mongolia

12th April 1964 - departure from Prague
13th April 1964 - arrival in Ulaanbaatar
14th April 1964 - Ulaanbaatar - meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture
15 to 21 April 1964 - Ulaanbaatar - unpacking materials, acceptance of vehicles, complete preparation for the departure to the Gobi desert
22 to 23 April 1964 - trip to the Gobi desert
24th April - Sayshand - negotiations with ajmak representatives to ensure conditions for vaccination programme
25th April 1964 - journey through the desert to the Chinese border
26th April 1964 - Erdene Somon - setting up a tent camp and starting vaccination
27 to 28 April 1964 - Erdene Somon - vaccination
29th April 1964 - move to Delgereg Somon
April 30 - 5 May 1964 - vaccination in Delgereg Somon
6th May 1964 - move to Ichet Somon
7 to 11 May 1964 - vaccination in Ichet Somon
12th May 1964 - move to Bajanmech Somon
13 to 24 May 1964 – vaccination in Bajanmech Somon, preparing to move to Chentej ajmak, repairing material and vehicles damaged due to complicated crossing  Cherlen river
25th May 1964 - move to and vaccination in Onderchan state ranch
26th May 1964 – maintenance of expedition material and vehicles
27th May - 1 June 1964 – vaccination in Onderchan state ranch
2nd June 1964 - move to the Bajanadraga Somon
3rd - 17 June 1964 – vaccination in Bajanadraga Somon
18 to 19 June 1964 - move to Ulaanbaatar
20 to 25 June 1964 - Ulaanbaatar – completion of the vaccines and other expedition materials including of necessary repairs
26 to 27 June 1964 - Move to Binder Somon
28.-29 June 1964 – vaccination in Binder Somon; Dr. Ševčík and Mr. Matouš vaccinated in Bajanadraga Somon
36th June - 8 July 1964 – vaccination in Binder Somon
9th July 1964 - move to Ulaanbaatar
10 to 16 July 1964 - Ulaanbaatar – replenishment of material and receipt of additional vaccine from Czechoslovakia
17th July 1964 - move to Binder Somon
18 to 31 July 1964 – vaccination in Binder Somon; diagnostic, preventive and organizational activities in two outbreaks of foot and mouth disease
1st August 1964 - move to Onderchan
2 to 5 August 1964 - Onderchan - negotiations with representatives of the ajmak about anti-FMD measures and vaccination
6th August 1964 - move to Omnedelger Somon
7 to 15 August 1964 – vaccination in Omnedelger Somon
16th August 1964 - move to Ulaanbaatar
-17-31 August 1964 - Ulaanbaatar - a partial inventory, preparation of material for diagnostic activities (incl. mobile veterinary laboratory)
1st September 1964 - move to Bulgan ajmak
2nd Second September 1964 - a meeting with ajmak representatives on expedition activities
3rd September 1964 - move to the Bajan-AGT Somon
4 to 16 September 1964 - Bajan-AGT Somon - diagnostic action: investigation of brucellosis, tuberculosis and glanders
17 to 18 September 1964 - move to Ulaanbaatar
19 to 5 October 1964 - Ulaanbaatar: final inventory, reparation, conservation, storage of materials and vehicles (incl. mobile laboratory), handover to Mongolian authorities;  preparing final report
6-11-October - journey back to Czechoslovakia