West African Cattle Farmers’ Perception of Tick-Borne Diseases

Abstract

Worldwide, cattle production is struggling to face the negative impacts caused by ticks and Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus is one of the most harmful ticks for livestock. Most of the people in West Africa depend on cattle farming and subsistence agriculture. The presence of ticks on cattle is a major problem faced by smallholder farmers who fight for their livelihood. National and regional tick control programs could assist these rural communities in protecting their livelihoods against ticks and tick-borne diseases, but only if they take into account the targeted herders and their perception on cattle management and tick control. This paper aims to provide a better insight in the socio-economic characteristics of Beninese cattle farmers, and their perception on tick burden, as well as to document common tick control strategies. Different tick species and their seasonality are well understood by cattle herders. For tick control, many still use manual tick removal, especially in the north of the country. The high cost of acaricides, the lack of financial means of African farmers, and of the local stockbreeders in particular, limits the use of acaricides in livestock breeding in Benin. While aiming to increase the meat or milk production of their animals, stockbreeders who can afford it sometimes turn to an abusive use of acaricides, which might in time lead to an increase in tick resistance. This study remains one of the rare studies to report extensively on the perceptions of West African cattle herders.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Wecatic project (AusAid funded project: Assessment of emerging livestock ticks and tick-borne disease threats and integrated control strategies in West and Central Africa). The authors would like to thank Afouda Adjé, Sabikoto Abib, Chabi-Mandé Falilath, Samson Bonaventure, Mama Y.T Ilyassou, Abo Oscar, Ahissou Athanase, technicians of CARDER and of four Beninese state farms, Dossa François, Ahounou Serges, Noudeke Nestor, Yokossi Date, Adinci Justin, Dossou-Gbété Gérard, all technicians of laboratory at URBPSA/EPAC/UAC and INRAB/LRZVH laboratories, Ahomadegbe Nestor, as well as the herdsmen at the state farm in Kpinnou for their assistance during the questionnaires.

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Correspondence to Eva M. De Clercq.

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Adehan, S.B., Adakal, H., Gbinwoua, D. et al. West African Cattle Farmers’ Perception of Tick-Borne Diseases. EcoHealth 15, 437–449 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-018-1323-8

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Keywords

  • Ticks
  • Tick control
  • Cattle herders
  • Perception
  • Survey