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Prevalence of bovine and avian tuberculosis in camel herds and associated public health risk factors in Isiolo County, Kenya


A cross-sectional study was conducted among 308 lactating camels selected from 15 herds from three different camel milk clusters in Isiolo County, Kenya, to determine prevalence of bovine and avian tuberculosis using Single Comparative Intradermal Tuberculin Skin test. Seventy-five (75) questionnaires were administered to pastoralists/herders, and focus group discussions were conducted among 3–5 pastoralists/herders selected from each camel herd to collect information on camel husbandry and health management practices and knowledge on tuberculosis in livestock and wildlife. An overall prevalence of bovine and avian reactors was 3.57 and 18.18%, respectively, with bovine and avian reactors for different clusters being 2.38, 3.82, and 4.48% and 25, 17.2, and 11.94%, respectively. There was significant difference (p < 0.05) in prevalence of bovine and avian reactors between different clusters. There was a negative correction (r = −0.1399) between herd size and bovine reactors, while there was a positive correlation (r = 0.0445) between herd size and avian reactors. The respondents indicated that camel herds are exposed to several risk factors like close contact with other herds or livestock or wildlife during grazing and at watering points. Pastoralists have poor knowledge on mode of infection and transmission of bovine or avian tuberculosis. The high prevalence of bovine and avian reactors and pastoralists’ poor knowledge on mode of transmission signify potential risk to public health.

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We highly acknowledge the technical assistance from Mr. Alfred Mainga and Mr. Nicanor Odongo, University of Nairobi; Miss Linnet Mwangi, Egerton University; and Mr. Patrick Muthui of Isiolo County Veterinary Office. Our gratitude goes to Dr. Joseph Nduati Githinji, Isiolo County Veterinary Office, for the technical advice and allowing us to work in the county. We thank the Kenya Camel Association and Isiolo County National government for their assistance with field logistics. We also wish to thank all herders and pastoralists for their willingness to participate in the study.


This study was partially supported by the funds from East African Targeted Investment for Research Impact (EATIRI) sub-project under the Livestock Climate Change Collaborative Research System (LLCC-CRSP), Colorado State University, USA. The funding agency was not involved in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data.

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Correspondence to Peter O. Lamuka.

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Lamuka, P.O., Njeruh, F.M., Gitao, G.C. et al. Prevalence of bovine and avian tuberculosis in camel herds and associated public health risk factors in Isiolo County, Kenya. Trop Anim Health Prod 50, 937–945 (2018).

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  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Avian tuberculosis
  • Mycobacterium bovis
  • Mycobacterium avium
  • Atypical mycobacteria
  • Zoonosis
  • Risk factors