Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly contagious and economically important transboundary viral disease of domestic and wild small ruminants (Balamurugan et al. 2010). Outbreaks of PPR occur regularly in small ruminants throughout Nigeria and are characterised by pyrexia (high temperature), depression, anorexia (loss of appetite), diarrhoea, respiratory distress, mucopurulent oculo-nasal discharge with matting of the eyelids, necrotic oral lesions that produce a foetid smell and sometimes abortion in pregnant animals.
The disease is caused by the peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV), which is classified in the genus Morbillivirus within the family Paramyxoviridae (King et al. 2012).
Small ruminants play an important role in agricultural food production and in sustainable employment in Nigeria and the control and eradication of PPR is therefore a priority, in order to ease poverty and improve the health and husbandry of animals kept by resource-poor people in this developing country. This study was designed to determine the seroprevalence and distribution of PPRV antibodies in small ruminants in rural households, farms, live animal markets and slaughter slabs across different states in all the agro-ecological zones of Nigeria. This information will be helpful to develop a progressive control programme with the aim to eradicate PPR from Nigeria.
Each agro-ecological zone consists of administrative structures called States, subdivided into local governments. Two states were selected at random from each agro-ecological zone: the north-eastern agro-ecological zone is montane savannah and samples were collected from Adamawa and Taraba States; the south-eastern agro-ecological zone is tropical rain forest and samples were collected from Anambra and Imo States; the south-southern agro-ecological zone is mangrove or swamp and samples were collected from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States; the north-central agro-ecological zone is Guinea or derived savannah and samples were collected from Kwara and Plateau States; the north-western agro-ecological zone is Sudan and Sahel savannah and samples were collected from Kano and Sokoto States; the south-western agro-ecological zone is tropical rain forest and samples were collected from Ogun and Ondo States (Iloeje 2001).
At a 95% confidence level, a sample size of 379 animals per state was calculated. A total of 4548 field serum samples were collected from 12 states across the agro-ecological zones of the country. No animal was known to have been vaccinated against PPRV before or at the time of sampling. Some animals appeared to have clinical signs compatible with PPR during sampling. Small ruminants were transported in vehicles that were often overcrowded, over long distances from the north of the country to the live animal markets in the south. On arrival at the markets, the animals were tied together as they awaited buyers. Any animal not sold is returned to the flock and new animals bought also end up in new flocks. These practices are conducive to outbreaks of diseases. New infections leading to outbreaks normally occur when animals are transported together or when they are tied together (transportation stress, overcrowding and malnutrition) in the live animal markets or kept for safety reasons with a relative from another locality.
There were significant differences in the distribution of PPRV antibodies in small ruminants between states (p = 0.001). The highest seroprevalence was in Taraba State (29.51%), whilst the lowest seroprevalence was observed in Cross River State (14.52%). The highest seroprevalence of PPRV in sheep where n > 6 was in Kano State (33.12%, n = 157) and in goats it was in Taraba State (27.97%, n = 236) (Figure 4). The seroprevalence varied between localities, with a range of 12.64% (Ikot-Omin, Cross River State) to 33.33% (Kassa, Taraba State). An important observation during the course of sampling is the apparent lack of awareness amongst the small-ruminant owners of the vaccination status of their flocks. The control and eradication of PPR is a priority in order to ease poverty and improve the health and husbandry of animals kept by people in developing countries.
For more on this research work, visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6324250/
Article by : Woma, T.Y., Ekong, P.S., Bwala, D.G., Ibu, J.O., Ta’ama, L., Dyek, D.Y. et al., 2016.