A cross-sectional study was conducted from September, 2010 to July, 2011 on 480 cattle in and around Mekelle town, northern Ethiopia, to determine the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) using comparative intradermal tuberculin (CIDT) test and to assess cattle owners’ awareness on its public health implication using a questionnaire survey. The individual animal and herd bovine tuberculin positivity prevalence were 54/480 (11.3%) (95% CI: 8.4 to 14.1%) and 24/120 (20%) (95% CI: 12.7 to 27.3%) at cut-off > 4 mm, respectively. Cattle kept in intensive type of production (odds ratio (OR) = 3.7), in larger herds with more than 10 cattle (OR = 11.3) and under poor management condition (OR = 4.3), were more likely to be infected with bovine tuberculosis. On the basis of animal characteristics, female (OR = 4.8), exotic (OR = 6.1) and cross bred (OR = 6.6), and cattle with poor body condition (OR = 2.7) were more reactive to tuberculin test than male, Zebu breed and good body conditioned animals, respectively. Out of the 54 CIDT positive cattle, 4 were slaughtered and tuberculous lesions were detected from the organs and carcasses of those cattle. One hundred and twenty household cattle owners or members of these households were interviewed, of these only 37 (30.8%) and 18 (15%) respondents had recognized or had heard about BTB and aware of zoonotic importance of BTB, respectively. The result of this study revealed poor awareness of cattle owners on BTB and its transmission; likewise, the study suggests that the prevalence of BTB in the study area is moderate and strong tuberculoid like lesions found from CIDT tested slaughtered animals. Further molecular characterization of cattle TB isolates present in the area are warranted.
Key words: Bovine tuberculosis, cattle, comparative intradermal tuberculin (CIDT), Ethiopia.
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