Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The epidemiology of Rabies in domestic ruminants in Botswana

Ditsele, Benjamin (2016) The epidemiology of Rabies in domestic ruminants in Botswana. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (3MB) | Preview


Rabies is a fatal viral disease of world-wide significance affecting warm blooded species, including humans, and is of major concern in Botswana. The objectives of the research reported in this thesis were to: determine the distribution of rabies in domestic ruminants in Botswana; identify risk factors associated with the disease in cattle; and assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of farmers in a high-risk area.

Data on cases diagnosed by the Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory between 2000 and 2010 were analysed. An average of 35 cases per year was detected in ruminants during this study period. There was a strong positive correlation between the number of cases in ruminants and jackals (r = 0.78, p < 0.005), as well as in cattle and goats (r = 0.96, p < 0.0001).

Cases of rabies (340) in ruminants were concentrated in the northern part of Botswana (88.7% of all cases). The North East District had the highest proportion of affected ruminants (0.029%) and 77.6% of these cases were in the peri-urban villages clustered around Francistown.

Livestock from farms in peri-urban villages (OR 10.6; 95% CI 4.2, 26.9), free-roaming livestock (OR 3.1), dogs attacking livestock (OR 3.1) and the presence of herding dogs (OR 4.5) were all significantly associated with a history of rabies in ruminants in a multivariable logistic regression model.

Farmers who could name at least one clinical sign of rabies in cattle were 5.7 times (95% CI 3.1, 10.5) more likely to have reported a case of rabies than those not knowing any clinical signs; however most farmers knew the clinical signs of rabies in dogs. This highlights the need for further education on the disease, including methods to recognise and control it in the farming community, as well as in the general public.

It is concluded that management and husbandry factors, along with environmental factors associated with the presence of canids, results in the disease being a problem in Botswana. Implementation of appropriate education, along with regular vaccination programmes of all dogs, should help minimise the impact of the disease on the community in Botswana.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor(s): Robertson, Ian
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year