Epidemiological aspects of bovine trypanosomosis in an endemic focus of eastern Zambia: The role of trypanosome strain variability in disease pattern

Justin Masumu, G. Tshilenge, V. Mbao
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 79, No 2 | a468 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v79i2.468 | © 2012 Justin Masumu, G. Tshilenge, V. Mbao | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 June 2012 | Published: 20 June 2012

About the author(s)

Justin Masumu, Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance, Chuo Kiikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania, United Republic of
G. Tshilenge, Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance, Chuo Kiikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania, United Republic of
V. Mbao, Centre for Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, Lilongwe, Malawi


Bovine trypanosomosis displays various epidemiological aspects in various areas. In some instances the disease has a high prevalence in animals with high impact on production whereas in other cases the disease has a low impact on production despite a high level of infection in animals. In addition epidemiological changes are frequently observed in various areas and are related to many factors including the vectors, the host, the parasites, the environment as well as the livestock management. However the implication of these factors in these changes is not fully elucidated. In eastern Zambia, factors predicting the establishment of severe infection in cattle are all present. However trypanosomosis occurring in cattle in this area has a low impact on livestock production. Several studies on the characterisation of trypanosome strains circulating in domestic and wild animals have been conducted in order to clarify the epidemiology of this disease in this area. These studies aimed at evaluating genetic and biological characteristics of these strains including their virulence profiles, their transmissibility by tsetse flies, their resistance to drugs and interference between different strains. In this review these findings are analysed in order to elucidate the implication of trypanosome strain variability in the distribution and the expression of this disease in the study area. The evolutionary trends of the situation occurring in this study area are also explained. Use of these findings is the context of disease control in the study area is further discussed.


Cattle; trypanosomosis; Zambia; strain variability; Trypanosoma congolense


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