Biosurveillance in Central Asia: Successes and Challenges of Tick-Borne Disease Research in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

John Hay*, Kenneth B. Yeh, Debanjana Dasgupta, Zhanna Shapieva, Gulnara Omasheva, Pavel Deryabin, Talgat Nurmakhanov, Timur Ayazbayev, Alexei Andryushchenko, Asankadyr Zhunushov, Roger Hewson, Christina M. Farris, Allen L. Richards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Central Asia is a vast geographic region that includes five former Soviet Union republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The region has a unique infectious disease burden, and a history that includes Silk Road trade routes and networks that were part of the anti-plague and biowarfare programs in the former Soviet Union. Post-Soviet Union biosurveillance research in this unique area of the world has met with several challenges, including lack of funding and resources to independently conduct hypothesis driven, peer-review quality research. Strides have been made, however, to increase scientific engagement and capability. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are examples of countries where biosurveillance research has been successfully conducted, particularly with respect to especially dangerous pathogens. In this review, we describe in detail the successes, challenges, and opportunities of conducting biosurveillance in Central Asia as exemplified by our recent research activities on ticks and tick-borne diseases in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully recognize the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Biological Engagement Programme, US Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the US Department of State for funding the research described in this review. The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government. This is the work of US government employees (AR and CF) work unit number A1266 and may not be copyrighted (17 USC 105). We extend special thanks to Kavita Berger, Charles Buck, and Barry Atkinson for their invaluable insights and suggestions in developing this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
2016, At least a portion of this work is authored by Allen L. Richards and Christina M. Farris on behalf of the U.S. Government and, as regards Dr. Richards, Dr. Farris and the US government, are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Foreign and other copyrights may apply.


  • Coxiella
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Rickettsia
  • TBE virus
  • biosurveillance
  • tick-borne diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Biosurveillance in Central Asia: Successes and Challenges of Tick-Borne Disease Research in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this