Perceptions of zoonotic and animal diseases in the Van Gujjar community of North India

Alice Wright*, Michael Thrusfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Humans living in and around forest areas are at increased risk of zoonotic disease transmission. The transhumant Van Gujjars of North India are one such population, but there is an absence of health data, including evidence of zoonotic diseases, in this community. Pastoral communities can have a wide breadth of knowledge of livestock diseases, but not necessarily of human diseases. This study investigated the perceptions that the Van Gujjars have specifically of zoonotic diseases, using participatory epidemiological methods, including semi-structured interviews, ranking, proportional piling, transect walks and direct observation, triangulated by informal interviews with local veterinarians. The community did not have a wide appreciation of zoonotic diseases, apart from rabies and potentially zoonotic skin diseases. In contrast, animal diseases were of much greater concern to the community; the locally-named surra (trypanosomiasis), ajar, khuriya (foot-and-mouth disease). , dakhutra, gheru, taku, and '. blood in urine' (possibly babesiosis), being of most concern. A participatory epidemiological approach was found to be an effective method of data collection and analysis; and the findings suggest that access to health services, particularly veterinary health services, should be improved for Van Gujjars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-153
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Volume123
Early online date23 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2015

Keywords

  • India
  • Participatory epidemiology
  • Van Gujjar
  • Zoonoses

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