Despite the large numbers of working equids and their significant contribution towards communities as well as the national economy, the attention given to study the health and welfare problems of working equids in Ethiopia is quite minimal. The main objective of this study was to investigate the sero-prevalence of some important infectious diseases infecting working equids and asses their spatial distribution in the different agro-ecological zones of Ethiopia. Sera collected from 1007 equids selected by simple random sampling technique were tested using the Office Internationale des Epizootic (OIE) approved serological tests. The overall sero-prevalence for all equids were 10.5% (n=288) for African horse sickness (AHS), 0.7% (n=997) for Dourine, 3.8% (n=982) for Glanders, 0.1% (n=1002) for equine infectious anaemia (EIA), 13.5% (n=208) for equine herpes virus 1 (EHV-1), 88% (n=208) for equine herpes virus 4 (EHV-4) and 65% (n=20) for Piroplasmosis. Significant interspecies (P=0.001) and spatial (P=0.01) variations were observed for AHS, Glanders, Dourine and EHV-1. However, the age and sex of the animals had no significant effect on the prevalence of the tested diseases. Infection of equids with more than one infectious disease was diagnosed. Out of the 208 equids tested for herpes, 11.1% were sero-positive for both EHV-1 and EHV-4. Co-infections of AHS and EHV-1 (1%), AHS and EHV-4 (4%), Glanders and EHV-1 (2%) and Glander and EHV-4 (7.7%) were also observed. This study has shown not only the high prevalence of some of the infectious diseases in the equine population but their wide distribution across the different agro-ecological zones of the central regions of Ethiopia.
Key words: Working equids, infectious diseases, epidemiology, sero-prevalence, Ethiopia.
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