Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research
On-line version ISSN 2219-0635
Print version ISSN 0030-2465
KIVARIA, Fredrick M. et al. The incursion, persistence and spread of peste des petits ruminants in Tanzania: Epidemiological patterns and predictions. Onderstepoort j. vet. res. [online]. 2013, vol.80, n.1, pp.01-10. ISSN 2219-0635.
Peste des petits ruminants virus, which causes a severe disease in sheep and goats, has only recently been officially declared to be present in Tanzania. An epidemiological study was carried out between September 2008 and October 2010 to investigate the incursion, persistence and spread of the virus in Tanzania. The investigation involved serosurveillance, outbreak investigation and computation of epidemiological indices such as the effective reproductive number, persistence and the threshold level for vaccination. Field and molecular epidemiological techniques were applied to isolate, characterise and trace the origin of the virus in Tanzania. A total of 2182 serum samples from goats and 1296 from sheep from 79 villages across 12 districts were investigated. Village-level prevalence of infection was variable (0.00% - 88.00%) and was higher in pastoral than in agro-pastoral villages. The overall antibody response to the virus was 22.10% (CI95% = 20.72% - 23.48%). About 68.00% and 73.00% of seropositive goats and sheep, respectively, did not show clinical signs. The proportion of seropositive animals differed significantly (p < 0.001) between age groups, sex and farming practices. Real-time polymerase chain reaction results showed that the isolated strains belong to lineage III, whose origin is in East Africa and the Middle East. This indicates that one of the northern neighbouring countries is most likely the source of infection. The computed overall effective reproductive number, the threshold level of vaccination necessary to eradicate the disease and persistence were 4.75% and 98.00%, respectively. These estimates indicate that achieving elimination of the peste des petits ruminants virus from pastoral flocks will require significant effort and development of highly effective intervention tools.