Mixed methods survey of zoonotic disease awareness and practice among animal and human healthcare providers in Moshi, Tanzania

Type Journal Article - PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Title Mixed methods survey of zoonotic disease awareness and practice among animal and human healthcare providers in Moshi, Tanzania
Volume 10
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers e0004476
URL http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0004476

Zoonoses are common causes of human and livestock illness in Tanzania. Previous studies have shown that brucellosis, leptospirosis, and Q fever account for a large proportion of human febrile illness in northern Tanzania, yet they are infrequently diagnosed. We conducted this study to assess awareness and knowledge regarding selected zoonoses among healthcare providers in Moshi, Tanzania; to determine what diagnostic and treatment protocols are utilized; and obtain insights into contextual factors contributing to the apparent under-diagnosis of zoonoses.


We conducted a questionnaire about zoonoses knowledge, case reporting, and testing with 52 human health practitioners and 10 livestock health providers. Immediately following questionnaire administration, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 60 of these respondents, using the findings of a previous fever etiology study to prompt conversation. Sixty respondents (97%) had heard of brucellosis, 26 (42%) leptospirosis, and 20 (32%) Q fever. Animal sector respondents reported seeing cases of animal brucellosis (4), rabies (4), and anthrax (3) in the previous 12 months. Human sector respondents reported cases of human brucellosis (15, 29%), rabies (9, 18%) and anthrax (6, 12%). None reported leptospirosis or Q fever cases. Nineteen respondents were aware of a local diagnostic test for human brucellosis. Reports of tests for human leptospirosis or Q fever, or for any of the study pathogens in animals, were rare. Many respondents expressed awareness of malaria over-diagnosis and zoonoses under-diagnosis, and many identified low knowledge and testing capacity as reasons for zoonoses under-diagnosis.


This study revealed differences in knowledge of different zoonoses and low case report frequencies of brucellosis, leptospirosis, and Q fever. There was a lack of known diagnostic services for leptospirosis and Q fever. These findings emphasize a need for improved diagnostic capacity alongside healthcare provider education and improved clinical guidelines for syndrome-based disease management to provoke diagnostic consideration of locally relevant zoonoses in the absence of laboratory confirmation.

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