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Original Research

Perceived risk factors and risk pathways of Rift Valley fever in cattle in Ijara district, Kenya

Nelson O. Owange, William O. Ogara, Jacqueline Kasiiti, Peter B. Gathura, Sam Okuthe, Rosemary Sang, Hippolyte Affognon, Washington Onyango-Ouma, Tobias T.O. Landmann, Murithi Mbabu

Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research; Vol 81, No 1 (2014), 7 pages. doi: 10.4102/ojvr.v81i1.780

Submitted: 27 February 2014
Published:  20 November 2014

Abstract

Ijara district in Kenya was one of the hotspots of Rift Valley fever (RVF) during the 2006/2007 outbreak, which led to human and animal deaths causing major economic losses. The main constraint for the control and prevention of RVF is inadequate knowledge of the risk factors for its occurrence and maintenance. This study was aimed at understanding the perceived risk factors and risk pathways of RVF in cattle in Ijara to enable the development of improved community-based disease surveillance, prediction, control and prevention. A cross-sectional study was carried out from September 2012 to June 2013. Thirty-one key informant interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders to determine the local pastoralists’ understanding of risk factors and risk pathways of RVF in cattle in Ijara district. All the key informants perceived the presence of high numbers of mosquitoes and large numbers of cattle to be the most important risk factors contributing to the occurrence of RVF in cattle in Ijara. Key informants classified high rainfall as the most important (12/31) to an important (19/31) risk factor. The main risk pathways were infected mosquitoes that bite cattle whilst grazing and at watering points as well as close contact between domestic animals and wildlife. The likelihood of contamination of the environment as a result of poor handling of carcasses and aborted foetuses during RVF outbreaks was not considered an important pathway. There is therefore a need to conduct regular participatory community awareness sessions on handling of animal carcasses in terms of preparedness, prevention and control of any possible RVF epizootics. Additionally, monitoring of environmental conditions to detect enhanced rainfall and flooding should be prioritised for preparedness.

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Author affiliations

Nelson O. Owange, Department of Public Health Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Nairobi, Kenya
William O. Ogara, Department of Public Health Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Jacqueline Kasiiti, Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya
Peter B. Gathura, Department of Public Health Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Sam Okuthe, Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,, Kenya
Rosemary Sang, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya
Hippolyte Affognon, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya
Washington Onyango-Ouma, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Tobias T.O. Landmann, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya
Murithi Mbabu, Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya

Keywords

Rift Valley Fever; Risk factors; Risk pathway Analysis

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ISSN: 0030-2465 (print) | ISSN: 2219-0635 (online)

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