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Prev Vet Med. 2013 Jan 1;108(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Aug 11.

A community-based participatory study investigating the epidemiology and effects of rabies to livestock owners in rural Ethiopia.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute for Infection and Global Health, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Neston CH64 7TE, UK.


A participatory study was carried out in the Oromia region of Ethiopia to ascertain the principal epidemiological features of rabies and its impact on livestock owners. Due to the variation in topography (and therefore livestock and human populations within the study area) villages from both high (>1500 m) and lowland areas were included. Local development agents who had no knowledge of the study's purpose recruited a total of one hundred and ninety six participants from eleven lowland and ten highland villages. A facilitator trained in animal health and participatory techniques conducted the interviews with groups of up to eleven participants. Methods used included ranking, scoring, proportion piling, seasonality calendars and open discussions to investigate a set of questions pre determined from a pilot study. The relative importance of rabies to other zoonoses, temporal distributions of the disease, the species affected, current methods of control within affected species and consequences of their loss were all explored. Data was compared between high and lowland areas and previously published studies. The study found that rabies was considered the zoonosis of greatest risk to public health in both areas. It reportedly occurred with higher frequency in highland areas and subsequently affected more livestock in these parts. Two distinct temporal patterns within the areas were described and participants provided reasons of biological plausibility for the occurrence. Livestock were found to contribute as a higher proportion of all species affected than previously shown in published material. This is likely to be due to the low level of reporting of affected animals to the available veterinary services, from where comparative data originated. The death of infected livestock species was found to have numerous social and economic implications and the ramifications of this are made greater by the perception that the highest incidence of clinical disease being in areas of greatest livestock density. The underestimation of the burden of disease by central bodies is likely to influence the economic rationale behind effective rabies control in the future.

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

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