Pastoralist knowledge of sheep and goat disease and implications for peste des petits ruminants virus control in the Afar Region of Ethiopia

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Bryony Anne Jones
  • Adem Muhammed
  • Esmael Tessema Ali
  • Katherine M. Homewood
  • Dirk Udo Pfeiffer

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number104808
Journal / PublicationPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Volume174
Online published1 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Abstract

Pastoralist areas of Ethiopia are vulnerable to drought, causing livelihood loss and famine. One approach to increasing pastoralist resilience is the control of livestock disease, but there is limited information from pastoralist areas to inform control strategies. This study aimed to explore pastoralist concepts of small ruminant disease and implications for infectious disease surveillance and control in the pastoralist Afar Region.

During 2013–14, qualitative and quantitative methods were applied in two villages of one district in the mid-west of the region. Semi-structured group interviews, incorporating participatory tools, explored pastoralist knowledge of small ruminant diseases and their impact. These were followed by multiple visits in different seasons to 70 households for semi-structured and informal interviews, observation of management practices, clinical examinations, and weekly questionnaires of mortality and morbidity. Thematic analysis was applied to interview transcripts and field notes, and descriptive statistical analysis to quantitative data.

Afar concepts of disease causation, terminology and treatment were predominantly naturalistic, related to observable signs and physical causes, rather than personalistic factors (misfortune due to magical or spiritual agents). Disease occurrence was associated with malnutrition and adverse weather, and disease spread with contact between animals during grazing, watering and migration. Disease occurrence varied by season with most syndromes increasing in frequency during the dry season.

Names for disease syndromes were related to the main clinical sign or body part affected; 70 terms were recorded for respiratory syndromes, diarrhoea, sheep and goat pox, lameness, skin diseases, ectoparasites, urinary and neurological syndromes and abortion. Some syndromes with pathognomonic signs could be linked to biomedical diagnoses but most were non-specific with several possible diagnoses. The syndromes causing greatest impact were diarrhoea and respiratory disease, due to mortality, reduced milk production, weight loss, abortion, weak offspring and reduced market value. Afar applied a range of traditional methods and modern medicines to prevent or treat disease, based on livestock keeper knowledge, advice of local specialists and occasionally advice from district veterinarians or animal health workers.

In relation to surveillance for peste des petits ruminants (PPR), several terms were used for PPR-like syndromes, depending on the predominance of respiratory or diarrhoea signs. Therefore, whenever these terms are encountered during surveillance, the associated disease events should be fully investigated and samples collected for laboratory confirmation. The Afar naturalistic concepts of disease parallel biomedical concepts and provide a good foundation for communication between veterinarians and pastoralists in relation to PPR surveillance and control measures.

Research Area(s)

  • Disease control, Disease surveillance, Indigenous knowledge, Infectious disease, Small ruminant, Veterinary anthropology

Citation Format(s)

Pastoralist knowledge of sheep and goat disease and implications for peste des petits ruminants virus control in the Afar Region of Ethiopia. / Jones, Bryony Anne; Muhammed, Adem; Ali, Esmael Tessema; Homewood, Katherine M.; Pfeiffer, Dirk Udo.

In: Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 174, 104808, 01.2020.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review