Many low-income countries have a human population with a high number of cattle owners depending on their livestock for food and income. Infectious diseases threaten the health and production of cattle, affecting both the farmers and their families as well as other actors in often informal value chains. Many infectious diseases can be prevented by good biosecurity. The objectives of this study were to describe herd management and biosecurity routines with potential impact on the prevalence of infectious diseases, and to estimate the burden of infectious diseases in Ugandan cattle herds, using the seroprevalence of three model infections.
Farmer interviews (n = 144) showed that biosecurity measures are rarely practised. Visitors’ hand-wash was used by 14%, cleaning of boots or feet by 4 and 79% put new cattle directly into the herd. During the 12 months preceding the interviews, 51% of farmers had cattle that died and 31% had noticed abortions among their cows. Interestingly, 72% were satisfied with the health status of their cattle during the same time period. The prevalence (95% CI) of farms with at least one seropositive animal was 16.7% (11.0;23.8), 23.6% (16.9;31.4), and 53.4% (45.0;61.8) for brucella, salmonella and BVD, respectively.