Protecting Livestock. Improving Human Lives

A cross-sectional survey to establish Theileria parva prevalence and vector control at the wildlife-livestock interface, Northern Tanzania

Author: Allan FK, Sindoya E, Adam KE, Byamungu M, Lea RS, Lord JS, Mbata G, Paxton E, Mramba F, Torr SJ, Morrison WI, Handel I, Morrison LJ, Auty HK

Year: 2021

About this Publication:

East Coast fever (ECF) in cattle is caused by the protozoan parasite Theileria parva, transmitted by Rhipicephalus appendiculatus ticks. In cattle, ECF may be fatal, with annual losses >USD500M. The African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is the natural host for T. parva but transmission between wild hosts and livestock is poorly understood. This study determined the prevalence of T. parva in cattle in a 30 km zone adjacent to the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania where livestock and buffalo co-exist, and ascertained how livestock keepers controlled ECF and other vector-borne diseases of cattle. A randomised cross-sectional cattle survey and questionnaire of vector control practices were conducted. Blood samples were collected from 770 cattle in 48 herds and analysed by PCR to establish T. parva prevalence. Half-body tick counts were recorded for every animal. 120 farmers were interviewed, including the blood sampled herds, using a standardised questionnaire about vector control practices. T. parva prevalence in cattle was 5.07% (CI: 3.70?7.00%) and higher in older animals. All farmers observed ticks on their cattle but tick counts were low and 78% cattle had no ticks. 79% and 41% of farmers reporting spraying or dipping with cypermethrin-based insecticides, respectively. Some farmers reported spraying as often as every four days but doses per animal were often insufficient. These data indicate high levels of acaricide use, which may be responsible for the low observed tick burdens and low ECF prevalence. This vector control is farmer-led and aimed at both tick- and tsetse-borne diseases of livestock.

Grant: VITAL

Subject Areas: Research and Development

Diseases: East Coast Fever



Prevalence, Tanzania, Theileria, Theileria parva, wildlife


Tanzania, United Republic Of

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