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Detection of Subclinical Mastitis in Small Ruminants on Six Farms in Northern Tanzania

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Major rept.

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Small ruminants represent an important role in the pastoral life of the Maasai people of northern Tanzania. Although the Maasai culture centers on cattle, East African goats and Fat-tailed sheep are the predominant livestock in this area and are extensively managed on free range semi-arid landscape. The milk and meat from these animals are a main component of the Maasai diet. The milk is often consumed hot, combined with tea and spices and served as chai. The Maasai pastoralists also consume fresh or fermented milk. while both milk and meat are nutritionally important to these people, these animals are used for subsistence rather than high production. Because of this the estimated number of lactating small ruminants ranges from 5 to 20 of the typical herd or flock, and sheep and goats are managed and raised as one group. This study was conducted in the Mondului district near the town of Gelai, a remote area which represents the traditional lifestyle of the Masaai. One water source from a nearby mountain spring, supplies two main water supply points for the entire area. Most of the residents live in smaller surrounding villages, or bomas, comprised of traditional homes constructed of dung and stick, and encircled by fences made of thorny acacia braches. The homes have dirt floors and thatched roofs, with very poor ventilation. Young lambs and kids are housed inside the homes at night, while the adult livestock are housed within the thorn fences of the bomas. The typical day begins with the women collecting dung to patch the houses, then milking the livestock and preparing a meal. Because water is scarce, there is no hand-washing or proper teat sanitation prior to milking. These common practices would lend evidence that there is a potential for a high prevalence of mastitis among all livestock, including the small ruminants. Mastitis is inflammation of the mammary gland and can be caused by several different bacterial andor viral infections.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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