A study was carried out to confirm and identify sources and elucidate factors associated with the introduction of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) in southern Tanzania. This study was conducted in Tandahimba and Newala districts of Mtwara region following suspected outbreak of PPR in the area. Qualitative data were collected using semi-structured questionnaires and in-depth interviews of key informants who included goat and sheep owners with suspected cases of PPR and animal health service providers as well as local administrative authority. Additionally, 216 serum samples and 28 swabs were collected for serological and virological laboratory disease confirmation. The results show that PPR was first introduced in Likuna village of Newala district in February 2009 through newly purchased goats from the Pugu livestock market located about 700 km in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city. Factors which contributed to spread of PPR included communal grazing and the cheap prices of sick animals bought by livestock keepers for slaughtering in other villages. Laboratory findings confirmed presence of PPR in the area by RT-PCR and serological analysis revealed that seroprevalence was 31%. These findings have confirmed, for the first time, introduction of PPR in southern Tanzania. The presence of PPR poses high risk of southward spread of the disease to other southern African countries in the SADC region thus calling for concerted and collaborative efforts in prevention and control of the disease to avoid losses. Further elaborate studies on the spread, prevalence and risk factors associated with the disease should urgently be investigated.
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