SCREENING FOR BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS IN AFRICAN BUFFALO (SYNCERUS CAFFER) IN NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA, NORTHERN TANZANIA: IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH.

Author(s): Prof. Mark Rweyemamu , Dr. Zablon Bugwesa

In the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), Tanzania, where wildlife and livestock interaction is intense, greater potential for intra- and interspecies disease transmission is expected. We assessed the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) residing on the valley floor of the crater in the NCA. Apparently healthy animals were randomly selected from herds in nine sites of the Ngorongoro Crater. Syncerus caffer buffalo herds were located using very high-frequency radio-aided rangers positioned in various observation points around the crater in the NCA. A total of 102 African buffalo from 16 herds were immobilized from the ground using a cocktail of 4-10 mg etorphine hydrochloride (M99) and 60-150 mg azaperone tartrate. The M99 was reversed using 10-25 mg diprenorphine hydrochloride depending on age of animals. An interferon gamma assay was performed on harvested plasma samples using sandwich enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Of the 102 animals sampled, two (2%) African buffalo tested positive for bovine tuberculosis. These results corroborate those of the skin test done recently in cattle in the NCA. The presence of bovine tuberculosis in livestock and wildlife suggested the possibility of cross-species transmission of the disease, indicating the need for appropriate intervention measures.

 

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