A disease prevalence survey in Uganda’s Masaka, Mukono and Kamuli districts was recently undertaken by a team of ILRI researchers and postgraduate students from Makerere University. Led by Michel Dione, a post-doctoral fellow with the Smallholder Pig Value Chains Development (SPVCD) project, the activity contributes to the joint efforts of the SPVCD and Safe Food Fair Food (SFFF) projects.
Blood, serum and faecal samples were collected from each of the 1273 adult pigs sampled from households in the three districts. In many cases, when animals showed infestation with ectoparasites, samples of those were also collected. In each of the farms where samples were taken, a household questionnaire covering aspects of pig housing types, husbandry practices, human nutrition and general farm management was administered.
Part of the laboratory work, mainly microscopic coprology analysis for helminth egg identification and the screening of thin blood smears as well as the preparation of blood and serum sample aliquots for further laboratory analysis were carried out in the field. At the end of the field work, all collected samples were transported and stored in the Molecular Genetics Laboratory of the Department of Biology in Makerere University.
The next step is to carry out laboratory analysis to diagnose a range of pathogens that were either identified by farmers or Ugandan veterinarians as important constraints for pig productivity or constitute a public health threat. These include African swine fever, Brucella suis, Ebola virus, Sarcoptes suis, Taenia solium, Toxoplasma gondii, Trichinella spp, Trypanosoma and Rotavirus.
Participants included Kristina Rosel, SFFF project coordinator/PhD fellow, Angella Musewa, research assistant and Paul Basaija, ILRI field assistant. Eliza Smith and Tarni Cooper, both visiting researchers with ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonoses program joined the team under the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program (AYAD), also took part in this activity. In each district, the district veterinary officer, as well as some members of staff of the National Agriculture Advisory Service (NAADS) and Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO) for Kamuli collaborated in the survey by organizing logistics and participating in the household survey and specimens’ collection. Locally recruited enumerators, field guides and pig restrainers were also involved.
Article contibuted by Michel Dione (M (dot) firstname.lastname@example.org)