|dc.description.abstract||Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) is a highly infectious epizootic disease of small ruminants that cause high mortality and has become an increasingly important trans-boundary disease following the eradication of Rinderpest. PPR is endemic in Africa, Middle East and Asian countries and is a major contributor to poverty in the rural pastoral communities. This exacerbates poverty levels among the smallholder farmers in rural areas who solely rely on small ruminants as a source of income. The disease also causes an economic and social disaster, and ultimately is a threat to the national food security.
Therefore, a study was carried out to determine the epidemiological status of PPR in selected high risk areas of Zambia. A total of 532 serum samples were collected from goats and sheep in Nakonde district in Muchinga Province, Mbala and Mpulungu in Northern Province and Solwezi in North-western Province. These samples were screened for PPR specific antibodies using PPR cELISA. In addition, questionnaires were administered to 31 farmers and veterinary staff in the districts to collect information on risk factors associated with the presence of the disease. To determine the levels of association of risk factors to disease presence, Chi square and multivariable logistic regression were performed in SPSS at 95% confidence level.
Results revealed that PPR was present in all the distrcits. At individual level, 1.70% (9/532) of animals sampled were positive for PPRV antibodies. This represented a district proportion of 0.50 % in Mbala, 1.80%) in Mpulungu, 2.40% in Nakonde and 4% for Solwezi. Univariant analysis of the potential risk factors found trade (p<0.001) and regulation on animal movement (p<0.001) to be important in the epidemiology of PPR However, sex of the animal (p=1.000), age (p=0.092), PPR awareness (p=0.294), veterinary clearance (p=0.062) grazing system (p=0.110) and disease reporting (p=0.099) were not significant. However, multivariable logistic regression showed that PPR awareness (p=0.006) and disease reporting (p<0.000) were also significant.
The apparent absence of overt clinical presentation of the disease in these animals may have been due to failure to diagnose the disease by the farmers and veterinary staff. There is need to determine the seroprevalence of PPR in the studied districts andother districts bordering Tanzania, DR Congo and Angola. There is need of confining the disease through initiation of surveillance networks, focused ‘ring’ vaccination and animal movement restriction to other parts of the country. The farmers and Veterinary staff in the high risk areas need to be educated on PPR. Also, there is need to strengthen veterinary extension services through deployment of Veterinary staff in camps that did not have staff .||en