|Title||Risk factors for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle in Ethiopia|
|Author(s)||Dejene, Sintayehu W.; Heitkonig, Ignas; Prins, Herbert H.T.; Lemma, Fitsum A.; Mekonnen, Daniel A.; Alemu, Zelalem E.; Kelkay, Tessema Z.; Boer, Fred de|
|Source||PLoS One 11 (2016)7. - ISSN 1932-6203|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infection is generally correlated with individual cattle's age, sex, body condition, and with husbandry practices such as herd composition, cattle movement, herd size, production system and proximity to wildlife - including bTB maintenance hosts. We tested the correlation between those factors and the prevalence of bTB, which is endemic in Ethiopia's highland cattle, in the Afar Region and Awash National Park between November 2013 and April 2015. A total of 2550 cattle from 102 herds were tested for bTB presence using the comparative intradermal tuberculin test (CITT). Data on herd structure, herd movement, management and production system, livestock transfer, and contact with wildlife were collected using semi-structured interviews with cattle herders and herd owners. The individual overall prevalence of cattle bTB was 5.5%, with a herd prevalence of 46%. Generalized Linear Mixed Models with a random herd-effect were used to analyse risk factors of cattle reactors within each herd. The older the age of the cattle and the lower the body condition the higher the chance of a positive bTB test result, but sex, lactation status and reproductive status were not correlated with bTB status. At herd level, General Linear Models showed that pastoral production systems with transhumant herds had a higher bTB prevalence than sedentary herds. A model averaging analysis identified herd size, contact with wildlife, and the interaction of herd size and contact with wildlife as significant risk factors for bTB prevalence in cattle. A subsequent Structural Equation Model showed that the probability of contact with wildlife was influenced by herd size, through herd movement. Larger herds moved more and grazed in larger areas, hence the probability of grazing in an area with wildlife and contact with either infected cattle or infected wildlife hosts increased, enhancing the chances for bTB infection. Therefore, future bTB control strategies in cattle in pastoral areas should consider herd size and movement as important risk factors.