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The contribution of sheep and goats to pastoralist livelihoods and economies is limited by the frequent occurrence of small ruminant diseases such as Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR).
PPR, also known as ‘goat plague’, is a highly contagious viral disease of sheep and goats characterised by sudden onset of depression, bilateral eye and nasal discharges, mouth sores, pneumonia, foul-smelling diarrhoea and death.
In susceptible small ruminant herds, PPR virus infections result in high morbidity rates of 90 percent (%) and mortality rates of 70%.
The disease is endemic across 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia.
Current global estimates indicate that PPR outbreaks in endemic countries results in an annual loss of close to 2 billion United State Dollar (USD).
PPR was first introduced into Kenya in 2006, but despite vaccination control measures being in place, the disease has continued to spread and is now endemic throughout Northern Kenya.
The underlying risk factors triggering outbreaks in Kenya are not well understood.
Pauline Gitonga - Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Dry Land Resource Management, Department of Land Resource Management and Agricultural Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nairobi.
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