Prevalence of rift valley fever among ruminant animals in Busia district in Uganda
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Rift valley fever is a disease caused by a Phlebovirus affecting both humans and animals. During history the virus has caused outbreaks mainly in Africa, sometimes of severe nature. In the early 1930s, the virus was first discovered in the Rift valley in Kenya. The disease was initially described by sudden deaths of lambs and ewes on a Kenyan farm. Since then the virus has caused expensive epizootics referred to as abortion storms and high mortality rate among ruminants. In humans the virus causes a flulike disease, which can be associated with severe complications (Paweska et al., 2003). The aim of this study was to obtain data on the prevalence of Rift valley fever in ruminants (cattle, goat and sheep) of Busia district especially along the border, useful for the future projects. Across sectional survey in seven villages that is Buyuya, buhasoho, buyimin, buhumwa, Hadoda, Amunuoit and Akobwait in Busia District was done. Blood samples (cattle, goats and sheep) were collected and tested with ELISA for IgG antibodies against RVFV. 132 samples (82 cattle, 36 goats and 14 sheep) were collected. 20 animals were positive for IgG against RVF giving a total prevalence of 15.15%. In the 20 positive cases, 16 (82) were cattle, 4 (36) were goats and no sheep was positive. Among the 7 villages, Amunuoit showed the highest prevalence with 7 (19) hence 37% prevalence. Cattle showed the highest prevalence among the three species (cattle, goat and sheep) where 16 (82) were positive giving 18% prevalence. Also male animals showed the highest prevalence between the sex differences with 9 (37) hence 24% prevalence. Young animals showed the highest prevalence between the two age groups tested that is young (< 1year) and old (> 1year). From the breeds tested, RVF was prevalent in only local animals. A chi-square test was also done which showed that there was a significant difference in the prevalence of RVF of ruminant animals among villages (X2 = 21.68, p-value = 0.0014 and d.f = 6). In conclusion, there are cases of RVF among ruminant animals in Busia. However the prevalence is still low. Therefore it is recommended that surveillance should be done in order to control the spreading of the disease to other parts of the country. It is also recommended that a study with a larger sample size should be done since the current study covered only 132 samples because of limited funds.