A simple, collaborative prioritization process for wildlife-associated zoonotic diseases in northern Tanzania

Daniel Pius Mdetele, Qudra Kagembe, J. Thomson, E. Komba, M. Seth, A. Chengula, E. Lipende, J. Compton, Katie Beckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background and Aim: Zoonotic diseases are naturally transmissible infections between animals and humans. To address these cross-sectoral health issues holistic, transdisciplinary health approaches are required. The legalization of the game meat trade in Tanzania in 2020 has created a new value chain from wild habitats to registered game meat selling facilities in human settlements, thus creating new human–animal interfaces associated with potential risks of zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife, livestock, and human populations. This study aimed to apply a simple, collaborative prioritization process to identify important zoonotic pathogens associated with wild animal taxa harvested and traded for game meat consumption in northern Tanzania.

Materials and Methods: A prioritization process was conducted to identify and rank zoonotic diseases associated with wildlife in the Arusha, Kilimanjaro, and Manyara regions of northern Tanzania to help determine the zoonotic disease risks associated with the game meat value chain. Two districts from each region were selected for this study. The prioritization process was conducted through an expert workshop that involved 41 participants, including a District Veterinary Officer, Public Health Officer, and District Game Officer from each district, as well as national One Health focal persons, zonal Veterinary and Laboratory Officers, scientific researchers, and a representative from the national Game Meat Selling Advisory Committee.

Results: Experts identified 11 common zoonotic diseases reported in these regions, of which anthrax, rabies, brucellosis, Rift Valley fever, and bovine tuberculosis were considered the most important. This finding is broadly consistent with the national priority list for zoonotic diseases.

Conclusion: This approach was time-efficient and cost-effective. In Tanzania, multi-sectoral planning, communication, and cooperation among human health, domestic animal health, wildlife health, and environmental protection have been strengthened. In the future, we recommend regular exercises using such an approach to update the information on important diseases and promote information sharing for epidemic and pandemic preparedness associated with the wild animal trade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of One Health
Volume10
Issue number1
Early online date7 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2024

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