Aim of study
To improve the reporting accuracy of anthrax cases in livestock across north-west Bangladesh by formulating and evaluating an enhanced surveillance program that utilises village volunteers to report suspected cases.
A single upazilla from each of the five districts of north west Bangladesh that had reported the highest number of human and animal cases of anthrax between 2010 and 2012 were selected for participation.
Eight unions per upazila were randomly selected. The enhanced surveillance program was introduced to four unions per upazilla and the remaining four unions maintained the existing surveillance activities.
All livestock species present in the selected unions were eligible for inclusion onto the study.
The project team held orientation meetings with animal health and human health stakeholders from upazilas in each of the five districts involved in the study.
Village volunteers were recruited and trained to detect and report cases of anthrax.
In order to enhance reporting, volunteers were promised a monetary award if a suspected case that they reported was confirmed. Similarly, financial incentives for the veterinary field officers diagnosing the cases were introduced.
By mid-July 2013, all volunteers had been selected and all training events had been successfully completed.
At this stage, two cases of anthrax had been confirmed, which was more than had been expected during the rainy season.
The data collection period is scheduled to finish at the end of September 2013.