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Prev Vet Med. 2012 Jun 1;105(1-2):10-6. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.02.013. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

The human-animal interface of domestic livestock management and production and its relationship to brucellosis in the country of Georgia 2010: a rapid assessment analysis.

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  • 1Animal Population Health Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Campus Stop 1644, Fort Collins, CO 80523, United States.



Brucellosis is endemic in the country of Georgia, with the highest incidence of disease in the east of Georgia, in the Kakheti region--which is also home to the majority of sheep and a large portion of the national cattle herd (two species that are natural hosts of zoonotic Brucella spp.).


Our purpose was to understand the ruminant livestock management and dairy production as well as the sociological factors in order to relate it to the disease ecology of brucellosis and to understand the framework that contributes too brucellosis transmission in the region.


In 2010, we examined the aspects of livestock management and production through the use of a semi-structured questionnaire that was administered to 198 villagers and 41 key informants (physicians, veterinarians, dairy production specialists, and laboratory personnel) who were identified by convenience sampling. Results were primarily qualitative, but some were quantified to reveal trends and compared with non-parametric tests.


We found that animals are managed at the village level. Male villagers take turns shepherding and herding on both summer pastures (highlands) and winter pastures (lowlands or around the village). Men also do all the sheep-dairy production. Women care for milk cattle as well as make the dairy products from cow milk. Of the households that own livestock, 28% own sheep (50 per flock) and 96% own cattle (3 per herd). The northern-most part of Kakheti (Akhmeta) has the widest distribution of its cheese; the guda cheese from this area is sold all over Kakheti and central Georgia. Typically, cheese is aged in 20% brine for 3d (white cheeses) or 21d (guda cheeses). In addition, raw milk is used for cheese production and heating the milk is believed to decrease the quality of the final product.


Interventions at the animal level will be best carried out in the fall when animals return to winter pastures. Under-employed private veterinarians would be available for extension work and contact with local villagers. Control will be best achieved at the animal level because the local people have a social and cultural resistance to the use of heated or pasteurized milk for cheese production.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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