Full Length Research Paper
A study was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors for African Horse Sickness (AHS) in donkeys in the highland area of Kiambu County, Kenya. Data on the risk factors was collected using semi-structured questionnaires administered to 146 donkey owners while blood samples collected from 398 donkeys both during the rainy and dry seasons. Antibodies against AHS were detected using competitive antibody Enzyme Linked Immuno – Sorbent Assay (c-ELISA). The estimated sero-prevalence of AHS in donkeys was 35.2 and 27.6% during the rainy and the dry seasons, respectively. The sero-prevalence of AHS in the donkeys that were re-examined during both seasons decreased from 60 to 20% indicating a waning immunity. Age of the donkey (P= 0.02) and presence of water streams (P= 0.03) were significant risk factors of AHS among donkeys. Three seropositive donkeys also showed pulmonary clinical signs of AHS. There was poor agreement (k =0.05) between the c-ELISA and clinical diagnosis of AHS. In conclusion, AHS in donkeys is endemic in the highland area of Kenya. This calls for increased adoption of preventive measures against the disease and justifies the need for future research on clinical and epidemiological patterns of AHS in donkeys in other highland areas.
Key words: African horse sickness, donkeys, highland area, prevalence, risk factors.
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