, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 29-38
Date: 02 Sep 2007

Foot and mouth disease in the Borana pastoral system, southern Ethiopia and implications for livelihoods and international trade

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Participatory epidemiology (PE) was used on the Borana plateau of southern Ethiopia to understand pastoralist’s perceptions of the clinical and epidemiological features of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in cattle. Matrix scoring showed good agreement between informant groups on the clinical signs of acute and chronic FMD, and findings were cross-checked by clinical examination of cattle and assessment of previous clinical FMD at herd level by detection of antibody to non structural proteins of FMD virus. The positive predictive value of pastoralist’s diagnosis of FMD at herd level was 93.1%. The annual age-specific incidence and mortality of acute FMD in 50 herds was estimated using proportional piling. The estimated mean incidence of acute FMD varied from in 18.5% in cattle less than two years of age to 14.0% in cattle three to four years of age. The estimated mean mortality due to acute FMD varied from 2.8% in cattle less than two years of age to 0.3% in cattle three of age or older. Pearson correlation coefficients for acute FMD by age group were −0.12 (p > 0.05) for incidence and −0.59 (p < 0.001) for mortality. Estimates of the annual incidence of chronic FMD varied from 0.2% in cattle less than two years of age to 1.8% in cattle three to four years of age. The Pearson correlation coefficient for the incidence of chronic FMD by age group was 0.47 (p < 0.001). Outbreaks of FMD peaked in Borana cattle during the two dry seasons and were attributed to increased cattle movement to dry season grazing areas. The mean seroprevalence of FMD was estimated at 21% (n = 920) and 55.2% of herds (n = 116) tested seropositive. Serotyping of 120 seropositive samples indicated serotypes O (99.2%), A (95.8%), SAT 2 (80%) and C (67.5%). The endemic nature of FMD in Borana pastoral herds is discussed in terms of the direct household-level impact of the disease, and the increasing export of cattle and chilled beef from Ethiopia.