Increased Morbidity and Mortality in Domestic Animals Eating Dropped and Bitten Fruit in Bangladeshi Villages: Implications for Zoonotic Disease Transmission
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We used data on feeding practices and domestic animal health gathered from 207 Bangladeshi villages to identify any association between grazing dropped fruit found on the ground or owners directly feeding bat- or bird-bitten fruit and animal health. We compared mortality and morbidity in domestic animals using a mixed effects model controlling for village clustering, herd size, and proxy measures of household wealth. Thirty percent of household heads reported that their animals grazed on dropped fruit and 20% reported that they actively fed bitten fruit to their domestic herds. Household heads allowing their cattle to graze on dropped fruit were more likely to report an illness within their herd (adjusted prevalence ratio 1.17, 95% CI 1.02–1.31). Household heads directly feeding goats bitten fruit were more likely to report illness (adjusted prevalence ratio 1.35, 95% CI 1.16–1.57) and deaths (adjusted prevalence ratio 1.64, 95% CI 1.13–2.4). Reporting of illnesses and deaths among goats rose as the frequency of feeding bitten fruit increased. One possible explanation for this finding is the transmission of bat pathogens to domestic animals via bitten fruit consumption.
Keywordszoonotic disease domestic animals morbidity mortality bat- and bird-bitten fruit
John Openshaw conducted this work with support from a TL1 Clinical Research Training Program of the Stanford Clinical and Translational Science Award to Spectrum (NIH TL1 TR 001084). This research protocol collecting the data used in this analysis was funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) and a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant for Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases, grant number no. 2R01-TW005869. icddr,b acknowledges with gratitude the commitment of NSF and NIH to its research efforts. icddr,b is thankful to the Governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Sweden, and the UK for providing core/unrestricted support.
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