socio-economics of tsetse control
Knowledge and Attitudes
The successful and sustainable adoption of bait technologies for tsetse
control requires investigation and management of the knowledge and attitudes
that cattle-owners (and other community members) have about tsetse and
Some of the most important questions about knowledge (or beliefs) are
Do cattle-owners have a clear concept of trypanosomiasis as a disease?
Answers to this question may be complex. Cattle owners may have detailed
knowledge of clinical signs of disease; for example, there are now accounts
from widely scattered areas of Africa that cattle-owners recognise loss
of tail hair as a sign of trypanosomiasis, even though this is not commonly
noted in veterinary textbooks (Catley et al., 2002a). However,
in different areas, local knowledge may either give different names to
chronic and haemorrhagic trypanosomiasis (Catley et al., 2001)
or use terms that encompass a variety of diseases recognised by Western
veterinary diseases: trypanosomiasis occurring as a single entity, trypanosomiasis
in combination with other parasitic infections, or certain other combinations
of parasitic infections (schistosomosis + fasciolosis or parasitic gastroenteritis
+ fasciolosis) (Catley et al. 2002a). Careful investigation of
indigenous names for diseases and disease complexes is necessary before
reaching conclusions on such questions.
Do cattle owners recognise that tsetse is the sole biological vector
This will not necessarily be the case. Cattle owners in tsetse-infected
areas are likely to believe that tsetse is one, or the most important,
vector of trypanosomiasis, but may also believe that other species, such
as Tabanids or Hippobosca, also act as vectors – in the case of
tabanids the possibility of mechanical transmission in some areas would
give some justification for this. Cattle owners may also be very concerned
about other nuisance flies, even if they do not believe they are vectors.
Do cattle-owners realise that trypanosomiasis can occur even when
they rarely or never see tsetse?
Because most savanna species of tsetse feed predominantly in the early
morning and evening, because of the distance tsetse can travel, and because
of the strong possibility of populations of many tsetse species subsisting
mainly on meals from wildlife, it is quite possible for trypanosomiasis
to be transmitted under conditions where cattle-owners rarely, perhaps
never, see tsetse flies. It will be important to establish whether cattle-owners
appreciate this fact.
Important dimensions of cattle-owner attitudes to explore include:
• The priority of trypanosomiasis as a problem: it will be important
to establish how importantly cattle-owners and others rank trypanosomiasis
as a problem for their livelihoods, and specifically in comparison with
other animal diseases and animal production constraints.
• Attitudes to new technology.
• Attitudes to prevention as distinct from treatment.
Attitudes towards collective action are treated elsewhere
in this module.
For information on methods for investigating knowledge and attitudes
For discussion on changing knowledge and attitudes click here.
Catley, A et al. (2001) Participatory diagnosis of a chronic wasting disease
in cattel in southern Sudan. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 51,161-181.
Catley, A et al. (2002a) Participatory investigations of bovine trypanosomiasis
in Tana River District Kenya. Medical and Veterinary Entomology