Wildlife plague surveillance near the China-Kazakhstan border: 2012-2015.
Plague is a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This pathogen can be transmitted by fleas and has an enzootic cycle, circulating among small mammals, and occasionally epizootic cycles, infecting other species. In China, infected wild rodents are primarily reservoirs of Y. Pestis and are related to human infection (Int. J. Infect. Dis., 33, 2015 and 67; BMC Microbiol., 9, 2009 and 205). Because shepherd dogs prey on and eat rodents (e.g. marmots and mice), they are valuable sentinel animals for plague serosurveillance in endemic disease foci, although their infections are usually asymptomatic (Vet. Microbiol., 172, 2014 and 339).