In South Africa, bovine TB (bTB) is a state-controlled disease but the monitoring of bTB in small ruminants is largely neglected, whereas bTB diagnosis and surveillance in cattle and buffalo are prioritised due to limited resources. In communities where bTB surveillance is not conducted regularly in herds, bTB surveillance data in cattle and other susceptible livestock are lacking. Goats co-existing with cattle, especially in areas where the prevalence of TB is high in both the cattle and the human populations, are not tested for TB. The prevalence of bTB in goats is unknown though they are known to be susceptible to Mycobacterium bovis. Thus, there was an opportunity to gather information from state veterinarians on their observations of bTB in goats. This information would assist to make a decision on whether to pursue further studies on bTB in goats in South Africa.
A survey study design using a quantitative research approach was used. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire.
Contacts of state veterinarians where obtained from the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) website. Participants were initially contacted via email. In the e-mail the participants were given a brief introduction of the researcher as well as his intention of carrying out the questionnaire.
Participants that were willing to participate would either do so via email in which they would read and sign the consent form and then proceed to answer the questions on the questionnaire. They could either fill in with a pen or, type in their responses electronically.
During the face-to-face interviews, participants were given the option to complete the questionnaire themselves or let the interviewer read out the questions and complete the questionnaire on their behalf. They were however requested to go through the consent form and fill it in before the interview could start. Other participants preferred to go through the questionnaire themselves while in the presence of the interviewer.
None of the 25 interviewed veterinarians had tested for or diagnosed bTB in goats. When asked the reason for not testing for bTB in goats, 55% said it was not mandatory and 25% cited limited resources as the reason.
From the literature search, Spain and the United Kingdom had the most reported cases in Europe of TB in goats at 36% (n=355) and 27% (n=45) respectively. M. bovis was the most commonly encountered species and the mediastinum lymph nodes was the organ most often affected. In Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria had the most reported cases of TB in goats with 54% (n=184) and 15.4% (n=9) respectively. M. bovis was most commonly encountered in these cases and unlike the European cases; the lungs were most frequently affected with a frequency of just under 80%. The only reported case of bTB in goats from South Africa was reported in 1928.
There is limited knowledge of bTB in goats in South Africa primarily driven by a bTB disease policy that is biased to focus on cattle and pay little attention to small stock such as goats.
Mini Dissertation (MSc (Tropical Animal Health))--University of Pretoria, 2019.