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Risk factors for foot-and-mouth disease in sedentary livestock herds in selected villages in four regions of Bhutan

Dukpa, K., Robertson, I.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-4255-4752, Edwards, J.R., Ellis, T.M., Tshering, P., Rinzin, K. and Dahal, N. (2011) Risk factors for foot-and-mouth disease in sedentary livestock herds in selected villages in four regions of Bhutan. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 59 (2). pp. 51-58.

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AIMS: To identify livestock husbandry practices important for transmission of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the herds and villages of four regions in Bhutan. To consider using this information to enhance the current prevention and control programme, a consideration arising from the failure to control FMD in spite of a control programme in place. METHODS: Between March and May 2009, 383 livestock farmers originating from 80 villages in four districts of Bhutan were interviewed, using a structured questionnaire, about the livestock management practices and incidence of FMD in their herds. Multivariable logistic regression was used to quantify the risk factors that predicted the outcome variable 'farmer-diagnosed FMD in Bhutan'. RESULTS: Sixty-two percent (49/79) of the villages and 87/355 (24%) of herds surveyed had at least one outbreak of FMD within the 5 years preceding the survey. The odds of having FMD in a herd increased substantially (OR=39.2; p0.0001) when cattle mixed with herds from other nearby villages compared with those where mixing did not occur. Those cattle herds mixing with six or more other herds within the same village were 5.3 times (p0.0001) more likely to have had FMD than those mixed with fewer than six herds. Farmers who fed kitchen waste to cattle were 14.1 times (p0.0001), and those who sent their animals for grazing in the forest were 3.1 times (p=0.014), more likely to report FMD in their herds than those who did not. Farmers who kept their cattle always housed in a shed during the day (OR=0.033) or at night (OR=0.29) were less likely to report FMD than those who did not (p0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Mixing of cattle at grazing areas was identified as a risk factor for FMD. This indicates that spread from infected herds and villages, through close contact, could be an important source of disease for non-infected herds in Bhutan. Therefore, quarantining of early cases in affected herds or villages could reduce the spread of disease within and between villages. This study also highlights the potential role of feeding kitchen waste to cattle as a risk factor for FMD. The findings from this study could be considered for strengthening of the FMD control programme in Bhutan.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: New Zealand Veterinary Association
Copyright: © 2011 Taylor & Francis
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