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Zoonoses Public Health. 2015 Aug;62(5):334-43. doi: 10.1111/zph.12151. Epub 2014 Aug 22.

Predictors for Risk Factors for Spread of Avian Influenza Viruses by Poultry Handlers in Live bird markets in Uganda.

Author information

  • 1National Livestock Resources Research Institute, Tororo, Uganda.
  • 2College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.
  • 3Makerere University Walter Reed Project, Kampala, Uganda.
  • 4School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.


Live bird markets (LBMs) are essential for marketing poultry, but have been linked to many outbreaks of avian influenza (AI) and its spread. In Uganda, it has been observed that demographic characteristics of poultry traders/handlers influence activities and decision-making in LBMs. The study investigated the influence of socio-demographic characteristics of poultry handlers: age, sex, religion, educational background, level of income, location of residence and region of operation on 20 potential risk factors for introduction and spread of AI in LBMs. Study sites included 39 LBMs in the four regions of Uganda. Data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire administered to 424 poultry handlers. We observed that background of education was a predictor for slaughter and processing of poultry in open sites. Location of residence was associated with slaughter of poultry from open sites and selling of other livestock species. Region influenced stacking of cages, inadequate cleaning of cages, feeders and drinkers, and provision of dirty feed and water. Specifically, bird handlers with secondary level of education (OR = 12.9, 95% CI: 2.88-57.4, P < 0.01) were more likely to be involved in open site slaughter of poultry than their counterparts without formal education. Comparatively, urbanite bird handlers were less likely to share poultry equipment (OR = 0.4, 95% CI: 0.22-0.63, P < 0.01) than rural resident handlers. Poultry handlers in Northern were 3.5 times more likely to practise insufficient cleaning of cages (OR = 3.5, 95% CI: 1.52-8.09) compared to those in Central region. We demonstrated that some socio-demographic characteristics of poultry handlers were predictors to risky practices for introduction and spread of AI viruses in LBMs in Uganda.


Avian influenza viruses; bird handlers; live bird markets; risk factor; risky practices

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