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Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding cystic echinococcosis and sheep herding in Peru: a mixed-methods approach.

Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding cystic echinococcosis and sheep herding in Peru: a mixed-methods approach.
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Merino V, Westgard CM, Bayer AM, García PJ,


Merino V, Westgard CM, Bayer AM, García PJ, (click to view)

Merino V, Westgard CM, Bayer AM, García PJ,

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BMC veterinary research 2017 07 0613(1) 213 doi 10.1186/s12917-017-1130-4

Abstract
BACKGROUND
The parasitic disease, cystic echinococcosis (CE), is prevalent in low-income, livestock-raising communities and 2000 new people will be diagnosed this year in South America alone. The disease usually passes from livestock to dogs to humans, making it a zoonotic disease and part of the One Health Initiative. Control of CE has been infamously difficult; no endemic areas of South America have succeeded in maintaining sustainable eradication of the parasite. For the current study, we aimed to gain a better understanding of the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of rural sheep farmers and other community leaders regarding their sheep herding practices and perspectives about a control program for CE. We also hope to identify potential barriers and opportunities that could occur in a control program. The authors conducted Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) surveys and semi-structured interviews in rural communities in the highlands of Peru. The KAP surveys were administered to 51 local shepherds, and the semi-structured interviews were administered to 40 individuals, including shepherds, community leaders, and health care providers.

RESULTS
We found that the shepherds already deworm their sheep at a median of 2 times per year (N = 49, range 2-4) and have a mean willingness-to-pay of U.S. $ 0.60 for dog dewormer medication (N = 20, range = 0.00- $2.00 USD). We were not able to learn the deworming agent or agents that were being used, for neither sheep nor dogs. Additionally, 90% of shepherds slaughter their own sheep (N = 49). We also learned that the main barriers to an effective control program include: lack of education about the cause and control options for CE, accessibility to the distant communities and sparse grazing pastures, and a lack of economic incentive.

CONCLUSIONS
Findings suggest it may be feasible to develop an effective CE control program which can be used to create an improved protocol to control CE in the region.

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