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Livestock keeping is the main source of livelihood for most pastoral households found in in ASAL areas of East Africa which are characterized by extreme climatic features of drought, flooding, low investments, fragile ecosystems and poverty levels approaching 65 %. Peste des petit ruminants (PPR) is a relatively new highly contagious and infectious and often fatal disease of sheep and goats that has caused devastating losses in the East African region since it was first reported in 2007 in the Turkana and Karamajong areas. Despite intensive vaccination, quarantine and public awareness campaigns, the disease continues to spread southwards. It is therefore very important that human capacity trained on innovative strategies towards PPR control is developed. The focus of this project is to build such capacity, including post graduate training, in PPR.
In one of the projects funded by RUFORUM, the epidemiology of PPR including risk factors, prevalence, and socio-economic effects were analyzed using participatory tools by Simon Kihu, a PhD student working in Turkana District, Kenya. The virus characteristics and disease description will be described by Dr Epaphras Muse of Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Tanzania; An inception meeting was therefore held in Nairobi where 17 participants, attended. The geographical areas were agreed as Turkana in Kenya and Southern Zone of Tanzania where there are active PPR cases and it is the frontline towards South Africa
Simon Kihu prepared the checklist for disease search and socio-economic impact, data collectors were trained. In the data collection process, active PPR cases were detected especially in young non-immune goat kids and this led to the genesis of another MSc by a student Maina S. Simon has finished data collection and is now undertaking statistical analysis and data compilation.
Epaphras has been working at Mtwara Veterinary Investigation Centre. He has already received data on villages affected and those which have active cases of PPR. Out of 30 samples collected from suspected cases, sixteen were positive by PCR test.. Dr Gerald Misinzo (a molecular virologist) in addition to Prof Msoffe have joined Hezron Karimuribo as co-supervisors. He has published two papers(attached) and submitted his Thesis which is under examination.