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

  • Balako Gumi
  • Esther Schelling
  • Rebuma Firdessa
  • Abraham Aseffa
  • Rea Tschopp
  • Lawrence Yamuah
  • Douglas Young
  • Jakob Zinsstag
Original Research


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 



We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Swiss Federal Commission for Scholarship for Foreign Students, the Wellcome Trust Fund Program on Bovine Tuberculosis in Ethiopia, and the Armauer Hansen Research Institute for their financial support to the research work. Moreover, we would like to thank the pastoralists in the four PAs for their cooperation and for allowing us to test their animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Balako Gumi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Esther Schelling
    • 2
  • Rebuma Firdessa
    • 3
  • Abraham Aseffa
    • 3
  • Rea Tschopp
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lawrence Yamuah
    • 3
  • Douglas Young
    • 4
  • Jakob Zinsstag
    • 2
  1. 1.Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary MedicineJimmaEthiopia
  2. 2.Swiss Tropical and Public Health InstituteBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Armauer Hansen Research InstituteAddis AbabaEthiopia
  4. 4.Department of Infectious Disease and MicrobiologyImperial College London, South Kensington CampusLondonUK

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