Original Research

Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1081-1087

Prevalence of bovine tuberculosis in pastoral cattle herds in the Oromia region, southern Ethiopia

  • Balako GumiAffiliated withJimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary MedicineArmauer Hansen Research Institute Email author 
  • , Esther SchellingAffiliated withSwiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
  • , Rebuma FirdessaAffiliated withArmauer Hansen Research Institute
  • , Abraham AseffaAffiliated withArmauer Hansen Research Institute
  • , Rea TschoppAffiliated withSwiss Tropical and Public Health InstituteArmauer Hansen Research Institute
  • , Lawrence YamuahAffiliated withArmauer Hansen Research Institute
  • , Douglas YoungAffiliated withDepartment of Infectious Disease and Microbiology, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus
  • , Jakob ZinsstagAffiliated withSwiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

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A cross-sectional study of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) was conducted in pastoral cattle herds in southern Ethiopia, from February to August 2008 using the comparative intradermal tuberculin test. The prevalence of BTB and the risk factors for having positive reactor herds were assessed in four pastoral associations in two districts of southern Ethiopia, namely Goro-Dola with 242 cattle in 16 herds and Liben with 231 cattle in 15 herds. A herd was considered positive if there was at least one reactor animal in a herd. The test results were interpreted based on the Office Internationale des Epizooties recommended 4-mm and a recently suggested 2-mm cut-off. The apparent individual animal prevalence of tuberculin reactors was 5.5% (95% confidence interval (CI), 4.0–8.0%) and 7.0% (95% CI, 5.0–10.0%), whereas the true prevalence estimate was 4.4% (95% CI, 0.8–8.0%) and 6.1% (95% CI, 2.6–9.5%), when using the 4-mm and the 2-mm cut-offs, respectively. The overall herd apparent prevalence of tuberculin reactor animals was 41.9% (95% CI, 24.9–60.9%) and 48.4% (95% CI, 30.2–66.9%) with the 4-mm and 2-mm cut-offs, respectively. A positive tuberculin test was associated with the age of animals and the main drinking water sources during dry seasons. In order to investigate the public health risks and the epidemiological importance of BTB in the area, we recommend to include other livestock species (camels and goats) as well as humans in future studies.


Prevalence Bovine tuberculosis Pastoralist Oromia South Ethiopia