Livestock movement informs the risk of disease spread in traditional production systems in East Africa

Ekwem, D., Morrison, T. , Reeve, R. , Enright, J., Buza, J., Shirima, G., Mwajombe, J. K., Lembo, T. and Hopcraft, J. G. C. (2021) Livestock movement informs the risk of disease spread in traditional production systems in East Africa. Scientific Reports, 11, 16375. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-95706-z) (PMID:34385539) (PMCID:PMC8361167)

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In Africa, livestock are important to local and national economies, but their productivity is constrained by infectious diseases. Comprehensive information on livestock movements and contacts is required to devise appropriate disease control strategies; yet, understanding contact risk in systems where herds mix extensively, and where different pathogens can be transmitted at different spatial and temporal scales, remains a major challenge. We deployed Global Positioning System collars on cattle in 52 herds in a traditional agropastoral system in western Serengeti, Tanzania, to understand fine-scale movements and between-herd contacts, and to identify locations of greatest interaction between herds. We examined contact across spatiotemporal scales relevant to different disease transmission scenarios. Daily cattle movements increased with herd size and rainfall. Generally, contact between herds was greatest away from households, during periods with low rainfall and in locations close to dipping points. We demonstrate how movements and contacts affect the risk of disease spread. For example, transmission risk is relatively sensitive to the survival time of different pathogens in the environment, and less sensitive to transmission distance, at least over the range of the spatiotemporal definitions of contacts that we explored. We identify times and locations of greatest disease transmission potential and that could be targeted through tailored control strategies.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The research was supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Program for Enhancing the Health and Productivity of Livestock, project reference ID 1083453), a Royal Society International Collaboration Award (ICA\R1\180023) to T.L. (University of Glasgow), and the European Commission Horizon 2020 ‘AfricanBioServices’ grant (641918) to J.G.C.H. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The study received approval from the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology (permit numbers 2016-93-NA-2016-87 and 2017-284-NA-2016-87).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hopcraft, Professor Grant and Lembo, Dr Tiziana and Reeve, Professor Richard and Ekwem, Dr Divine and Morrison, Dr Thomas
Authors: Ekwem, D., Morrison, T., Reeve, R., Enright, J., Buza, J., Shirima, G., Mwajombe, J. K., Lembo, T., and Hopcraft, J. G. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 11:16375
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
171925AfricanBioServicesDaniel HaydonEuropean Commission (EC)641918Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine