Original Research

Descriptive epidemiology of African horse sickness in Zimbabwe

Stuart Gordon, Charlotte Bolwell, Chris Rogers, Alan Guthrie, Forgivemore Magunda, Petronella Hove
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 80, No 1 | a578 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v80i1.578 | © 2013 Stuart Gordon, Charlotte Bolwell, Chris Rogers, Alan Guthrie, Forgivemore Magunda, Petronella Hove | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 19 February 2013 | Published: 24 May 2013

About the author(s)

Stuart Gordon, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand
Charlotte Bolwell, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand
Chris Rogers, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand
Alan Guthrie, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Forgivemore Magunda, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Petronella Hove, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe


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Abstract

A study of the prevalence of African horse sickness in horses was conducted, using records from two private equine practices in Harare for the period 1998–2004. Results indicated a higher prevalence of the disease in horses in Zimbabwe in the late rainy season (March – May). Age of the horse was found to be a significant risk factor, with foals or yearlings appearing to be 1.80 times more likely to contract the disease compared with horses older than two years. The case fatality rate in foals or yearlings was also higher than in older age groups, but this difference was not significant. The vaccination status was an important risk factor, with vaccinated horses 0.12 times less likely to die from the disease compared with unvaccinated horses. Young, unvaccinated horses therefore seem to be the most susceptible to the disease and have greater chances of fatality. This study highlights the importance of adequately protecting horses against African horse sickness by providing immunisation through vaccination and discusses the need to review current vaccination strategies being practiced in Zimbabwe.

Keywords

African horse sickness; prevalence; odds ratio; fatality; vaccination

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