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Mongolia experienced one of its most severe natural winter disasters (dzud) in 2009-2010. It is difficult to accurately assess the risk of the effects of dzud on human lives and public health. This study aimed to evaluate the Mongolian public health risks of dzud by assessing livestock loss.
We analyzed data from all 21 provinces and Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and compared the changes in infant mortality (2009-2010) and the decline in the numbers of livestock (percentage change from the previous year), which included horses, cattle, camels, sheep, and goats (2009-2010) and/or meteorological data. We also evaluated the association among the trends in the infant mortality rate, the number of livestock, and foodstuff consumption throughout Mongolia (2001-2012).
The change in the infant mortality rate was positively correlated with the rate of decreasing numbers of each type of livestock in 2010. Average temperature and total precipitation were not related to the change in the infant mortality rate. In the trend from 2001 to 2012, there was a significant positive correlation between the infant mortality rate and the number of livestock and the consumption of milk products.
Loss of livestock and shortage of milk products leading to malnutrition might have affected public health as typified by infant mortality in Mongolia. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:549–552)
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