Afghanistan: Brucellosis/Q fever/CCHF project — Survey completed

From December 26th, 2012 to 17th January 2013, members of the Afghanistan brucellosis/Q fever collaborative investigation project administered a serosurvey of zoonotic diseases within the Herat province, Afghanistan.

Study aims

The aim of the survey was to investigate the prevalence of brucellosis, Q fever and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in both humans and livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) living in the region.

Implementation

People delivering the survey were trained to collect blood samples from people and animals, to process serum samples, and to administer a Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice (KAP) questionnaire to learn more about the villagers attitudes towards brucellosis.

Before the survey began a workshop was held to inform local stakeholders about the survey and its goals. A team also visited the villages involved to inform the village elders and leaders about the survey and to gain their support.

Challenges encountered

The survey was successfully completed, although some logistical difficulties were encountered. One challenge that was overcome, was that some of the randomly selected households refused to consent to sampling. When this occurred, team members met with the members of the household in an effort to gain their consent. In addition, some randomly selected farmers possessed no livestock at the time of the sampling visit. In this instance another farm would be randomly selected to maintain the total number of farms sampled.

Data collected

The survey included 204 households from eleven villages (6 nomadic Kuchi villages and 5 sedentary villages), and blood samples were collected from 1017 people, 2032 small ruminants (877 goats and 1155 sheep), and 350 cattle. Fewer cattle were sampled due to the challenge of finding cattle in the selected villages and the lack of census data for cattle in the focus areas.

Due to their persistence, the survey team successfully collected sufficient data to estimate the prevalences of brucellosis, Q fever and CCHF in humans and sheep and goats in the region. These data are currently being analysed, and the survey results will be presented at the South Asia Regional One Health Symposium that is being held in Bhutan, December 2013.