Assessing cattle farmers’ knowledge and practices towards foot and mouth disease transmission and control in Nkozi Sub-county, Mpigi District
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Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals (artiodactyls). The disease is on the list of notifiable diseases by the world organization for animal health (OIE) and is regarded as a transboundary animal disease (TAD). A cross-sectional survey was carried out to determine cattle farmers' knowledge and practices towards FMD transmission and control of FMD by employing structured questionnaires. A total of 121 cattle farmers were interviewed from the different parishes in Nkozi Subcounty. The results showed that regarding knowledge about the transmission of FMD, 47.9% of the cattle farmers know that FMD is transmitted through direct contact between infected and non-infected animals, 57.0% know that wild animals can spread FMD to domestic animals and 61.2% know that quarantine and restriction orders prevent FMD transmission. In terms of knowledge about the control of FMD, 56.2% of the cattle farmers have knowledge about the prevention of FMD transmission through vaccination, 56.2% suggested that vaccination be carried every year and all the respondents could atleast identify one actor that can help prevent the transmission of FMD. Regarding the practices, about 66.9% of the cattle farmers practice communal grazing and watering, about 44.6% of the cattle farmers dispose off dead animals by giving them to other people for eating and approximately half of the respondents (50.4%) have the habit of going to neighbours to see animals that are clinically sick with FMD which promotes FMD transmission. About 65.3% of cattle farmers are ignorant about the use gloves when handling sick animals, 66.9% about the use disinfectants for cleaning farm equipments as well as at farm entry points which would help in the control of FMD transmission. About 49.6% of the cattle farmers have fences on their farms and an average of 56.2% of the cattle farmers don’t mix animals from the market with the rest of the herd which helps in the control of FMD transmission. Cattle farmers have average and good knowledge towards FMD transmission and control on their farms and in the community respectively. This study recommends Cattle farmers’ sensitization to improve their knowledge about how FMD is spread and hence avoid practices like the practice of communal watering and grazing, disposal of carcasses for animals that die of FMD by giving them to others and farm visits during an outbreak and Preparation of a simplified farmer’s handbook on the Control of FMD on a cattle farm that can help in the sensitization of cattle farmers about the proper FMD control measures like the use of gloves when handling sick animals and the use of disinfectants on farms.