Temporal and spatial distribution of cattle anthrax outbreaks in Zimbabwe between 1967 and 2006
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This retrospective study aimed to assess the spatial and temporal distribution of anthrax and to identify risk areas in Zimbabwe. The data were extracted from the monthly and annual reports of the Division of Livestock Production and Veterinary Services for the period 1967 to 2006. The data were analyzed in relation to temporal and spatial factors. The hot-dry season was found to be significantly (X 2 = 847.8, P < 0.001) associated with the occurrence of anthrax in cattle, and the disease was found to be approximately three times more likely to occur during this season compared to other seasons. Anthrax outbreaks demonstrated a gradual temporal increase from an annual mean of three outbreaks for the 5-year period (1967–1971) to 42 for the 5-year period (2002–2006). Similarly, the data demonstrated a spatial increase in the number of districts affected by anthrax between 1967 and 2006, with 12 districts affected for the 10-year period (1967–1976) that expanded to 42 districts for the 10-year period (1997–2006). The majority of outbreaks (83.7%) were recorded in rural areas, and 11 districts were found to be at a higher risk than others. There is need to develop differential vaccination strategy, other control strategies and preventive recommendations to reduce anthrax in high-risk districts. In the medium- to low-risk districts, maintenance of effective surveillance systems and improvement of awareness is very important to detect and contain outbreaks early.
KeywordsAnthrax Cattle Distribution Outbreaks Spatial Temporal Zimbabwe
The authors are grateful to the Department of Veterinary Technical Services, Dr Donora of the Department of Veterinary Field Services for allowing access to anthrax records.
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