National Animal Health Diagnostic and Investigation Center, P.O. Box 04, Sebeta, Ethiopia; Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Electronic address: [Email]
Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) has become an economically important disease in dairy herds found in and around Addis Ababa City and is emerging in regional cities like Gondar, Hawassa and Mekelle because of the establishment of dairy farms in the milk sheds of these cities. A cross-sectional study to estimate the prevalence of BTB and identify associated risk factors was conducted between February 2016 and March 2017. A total of 174 herds comprising of 2,754 dairy cattle in the cities of Gondar, Hawassa and Mekelle were tested using the Single Intradermal Comparative Cervical Tuberculin (SICCT) test. Data on herd structure, animal origin, body condition, housing condition, farm hygiene, management and biosecurity practices were collected using a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Generalized Linear Models (GLM) and Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) were used to analyze the herd and animal level risk factors, respectively. The herd prevalence was 22.4% (95% CI: 17-29%) while the animal prevalence was 5.2% (95% CI: 4-6%) at the cut-off >4 mm. The herd prevalence rose to 65.5% (95% CI: 58-72%) and the animal prevalence rose to 9% (95% CI: 8-10%) when the severe interpretation of >2 mm cut-off was applied. The mean within-herd prevalence in positive farms at the cut-off >4 mm was 22.7% (95% CI: 15-31%). At the herd level, the analysis showed that herd size, farm hygiene, feeding condition and biosecurity were significantly associated with BTB status, while new cattle introductions showed only borderline significance and that age of farm, housing condition, farmers' educational status and animal health care practice were not significant. At the animal level, the results showed that age and animal origin were identified as significant predictors for BTB positivity but sex and body condition score were not related to BTB status. Descriptive analysis revealed that herds having 'BTB history' showed slightly higher likelihood of being BTB positive compared to farms having no previous BTB exposure. In conclusion, this study showed relatively lower average prevalence in the emerging dairy regions as compared to the prevalence observed in and around Addis Ababa City, warranting for implementation of control program at this stage to reduce or possibly stop further transmission of BTB.