Evaluation of a novel method for controlling bovine trypanosomiasis
Brownlow, Andrew C.
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The problem of controlling tsetse flies in Africa is an old one. The tsetse fly transmits the trypanosome parasites which cause sleeping sickness in humans and disease in cattle. Because cattle are a favoured food source for tsetse much work has been done looking at the use of insecticide treated cattle as a control strategy for the tsetse fly. Such treatment methods possess many advantages; they are safe and relatively environmentally benign, they can be applied by individual farmers without the need for logistically demanding and costly traditional control programmes and, in addition to tsetse flies the insecticides are effective against a wide range of other harmful cattle parasites. The cost of the insecticide is however a significant constraint to the number of livestock keepers who can afford to employ the technique and as a result many cattle remain untreated. Following the discovery that tsetse had a significant predilection for feeding on the legs and belly of cattle, it was hypothesised that restricting the insecticide to only those areas could offer comparable protection to treating the whole animal. Such an approach would use up to 80% less drug and thus make the treatment per animal much cheaper. In addition, preferentially targeting areas favoured by tsetse, and leaving the rest of the animal untreated, preserves some important ecological balances between cattle and their parasites which traditional treatment methods destabilise. This thesis describes the design, implementation and analysis of a longitudinal study run over 8 months in south east Uganda that sought to compare the effect of applying insecticide to cattle only on the regions favoured by tsetse flies. Cattle were recruited to the study and assigned one of four treatment groups; a whole body application of deltamethrin insecticide pour-on; a restricted application of deltamethrin spray, applied to the front legs, ears and belly; a prophylactic trypanocide injection of isometamidium chloride, and a control group, that received no further treatments. All animals in the study were however cleared using twin doses of a trypanocide diminazene aceturate at the start of the study.