News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

New journal article: Field testing of tsetse repellent technology in Kenya

A newly published article in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine  (available online 25 October 2010) reports the findings of a 16-month-long field trial of a synthetic tsetse repellent technology among Maasai cattle keepers in Kenya.

Tsetse flies transmit trypanosomes, the protozoan agents that cause animal trypanosomosis, a cattle disease characterized by fever, weakness and anaemia which can, in cases of severe infection, lead to death of the animal.

Various methods used to manage animal trypanosomosis, such as tsetse fly control, trypanocidal drugs and trypanotolerant cattle breeds, have not been widely effective and sustainable, especially where the disease is endemic or where trypanocide resistance is high.

The Kenya study was the first to evaluate a tsetse-repellent device in the field under natural tsetse challenge. The trial pre-established the measure of effectiveness of the technology at a threshold of 50% reduction in trypanosome infection among all treated animals in the herd but the impact of the technology saw only 18% reduction in infection.

Based on this finding, the authors concluded that "the prototype repellent technology package was not sufficiently effective in reducing trypanosome infection incidence under natural tsetse challenge to merit commercial development".

The quest for a sustainable solution to the problem of animal trypanosomosis is not limited to the eastern Africa region. Scientists from ILRI's Market Opportunities Theme and research partners have also undertaken similar studies in West Africa's cotton zone where the disease is endemic and trypanocide resistance is high.

The findings of these studies have been highlighted in previous posts in this blog, namely, characterization of West African farmers' knowledge of cattle trypanosomosis, analysis of appropriate policies for management of trypanocide resistance in Mali and testing of integrated control strategies to reduce the risk of trypanocide resistance.

Read the abstract of the journal article here.

Bett B, Randolph TF, Irungu P, Nyamwaro SO, Kitala P, Gathuma J, Grace D, Vale G, Hargrove J and McDermott J. 2010. Field trial of a synthetic tsetse-repellent technology developed for the control of bovine trypanosomosis in Kenya. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 97(3-4): 220-227.

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