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Serological survey of African horse sickness in selected districts of Jimma zone, Southwestern Ethiopia

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A cross-sectional serological survey was undertaken in selected districts of different agro-ecology of Jimma zone (Dedo, Yebu, Seka, Serbo, and Jimma town) from November 2009 to February 2010 to determine the seroprevalence of African horse sickness virus and associated risk factors of the disease. Two hundred seventy-four equids (189 horses, 43 mules, and 47 donkeys) with a history of non-vaccination for at least 2 years were selected randomly from the above areas. Sera samples were collected and assayed for the presence of specific antibody against African horse sickness virus using blocking ELISA. An overall seroprevalence of 89 (32.5%) was found and it was 24 (51.1%) for donkeys, 13 (30.2%) for mules, and 52(28.3%) for horses. Seroprevalence was significantly (X 2 = 11.05, P < 0.05) different among the different species of equids. Seroprevalence was also significantly (X 2 = 11.43, P < 0.05) different among the different agro-ecological areas being higher in highlands 47 (40.5%) followed by midland 30 (34.5%) and lowland 12 (16.9%). Age and sex were not significantly (X 2 = 3.15, P > 0.05 and X 2 = 3.38, P > 0.05, respectively) associated with seroprevalence of AHSV. The present study showed that African horse sickness (AHS) is highly prevalent disease for the horses followed by mules and then donkeys in Jimma zone explained by lower seroconversion rate. Therefore, control strategy against AHS should target at high risk species of all age and sex in their locality in the initial stage for better containment of the disease.

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The work has been conducted by the financial support of NARF/LV/01/008/09 project. The authors would like to thank Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine for the collection of sera samples and questionnaire data. Much appreciation goes to the National Veterinary Institute of Ethiopia for the provision of laboratory facilities.

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Correspondence to Molalegne Bitew.

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Bitew, M., Andargie, A., Bekele, M. et al. Serological survey of African horse sickness in selected districts of Jimma zone, Southwestern Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 43, 1543–1547 (2011).

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