Environmental and Social Factors Associated with Zoonotic Disease at the Wildlife-Livestock Interface in Tanzania
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009
Deana Clifford1, DVM, MPVM, PhD; Rudovick Kazwala2, BVSc, MVM, PhD; Peter Coppolillo3, PhD; Jon Erickson4, PhD; Julius John2, BVM, MPVM; Harrison Sadiki2, BVM, MVM; Michel Masozera4, MS, PhD; Jonna Mazet1, DVM, MPVM, PhD
1Wildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 2Department of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania; 3Yellowstone Rockies Program (Formerly Ruaha Landscape Program), Wildlife Conservation Society, Bozeman, MT, USA; 4Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA
Sharing of diminishing water sources may increase disease transmission and illness in livestock, wildlife, and people; reduce livestock productivity; and impact non-agricultural means of livelihood improvement, such as wildlife tourism. We assessed interactions between disease transmission and water scarcity in the high conservation value but water-limited Ruaha ecosystem, Tanzania. We tested wildlife and livestock for bovine tuberculosis (BTB); determined if water availability and proximity to wildlife protected areas were associated with livestock disease losses or BTB; and surveyed pastoralists’ perceptions about zoonotic disease. Bovine tuberculosis infection was detected in wildlife and livestock; with 27% of 102 sampled households having ≥ one positive or suspect reactor in their herd. Households located farther from villages and from water sources tended to report greater livestock disease losses. The presence of wildlife and proximity to roads were not associated with livestock disease losses. Many households lacked awareness about the risks of contracting disease from livestock or from sharing contaminated water with livestock. Although pastoralists living closer to wildlife may not suffer more livestock disease losses; the presence of BTB in wildlife suggests that disease transmission between livestock and wildlife has occurred. Our data support the importance of water availability for livestock health and productivity and demonstrate a need for remote households have greater access to veterinary extension services. Since people in water restricted households were more likely to share water with livestock, educational interventions regarding zoonotic disease risk and hygiene practices must go hand-in-hand with efforts to improve water access and quality for pastoralists.