Seroprevalence and risk factors of foot-and-mouth disease in sheep and goats in the Soudan-Sahelian and Guinean regions of Cameroon

Document Type : Original Article


1 National Veterinary Laboratory (LANAVET), Garoua, Cameroon

2 Department of Animal Production Technology, College of Technology, University of Bamenda, Bambili, Cameroon

3 National Veterinary Laboratory (LANAVET), Annex Yaoundé, Cameroon

4 Université Libreville Nord (ULN), Transmissible Diseases Laboratory (TDEL) Okala, Libreville, Gabon

5 Faculty of Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon


Background and aim: Information on the epidemiology of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in small ruminants in Cameroon and particularly in the northern regions is insufficient. Indeed, studies on the epidemiology of FMD in these areas were focused on cattle and pigs. Hence, the current cross-sectional study was conducted from January to July 2020 to determine the seroprevalence and risk factors of FMD in small ruminants and cattle mixed herds in the Soudan-Sahelian and Guinean agro-ecological zones (AEZs) of Cameroon. Materials and Methods: A total of 350 serum samples from 268 sheep and 82 goats were collected in the 3 regions (Adamawa (n=93), North (n=105), and Far North (n=152)). All samples were tested using indirect ELISA specific to antibodies against FMD virus Non-structural Protein (NSP) and seropositive samples were further serotyped using ELISA “PrioCHECK® FMDV Type A” and “ELISA PrioCHECK® FMDV Type O” kits. Moreover, a univariate analysis was performed to test the association between the potential risk factors and prevalence of FMD. Lastly, a multivariate logistic regression was used to build the final model. Results: The overall seroprevalence of antibodies to the non-structural protein of the FMD virus was 45.4% (95% CI: 40.3 – 50.7), that of serotype A was 4.6% (95% CI: 2.8 – 7.3) and that of serotype O was 17.4% (95% CI: 13.8 – 18.7). NSP antibodies seroprevalence was significantly higher in sheep, but anti-serotype O antibodies were higher in goats. The main risk factor independent of the species is region. In fact, small ruminants from the Sahelian region (OR: 7.3; P=0.003) had a higher seroprevalence than others. No intrinsic factor showed a significant influence on seroprevalence in goats. However, in sheep, age, sex and physiological status were significantly associated to seroprevalence. For both species, young animals (OR: 2.9; P=0.02) were more susceptible, females were 1.4 and 4.7 times respectively more likely to have NSP and type O antibodies than males. This study has shown that FMDV antibodies are present and the viruses could be circulating among small ruminant populations in the three regions of Cameroon. Conclusion: The present study highlights the probable circulation of FMD serotypes A and O in both sheep and goat populations for the first time in the major cattle rearing northern regions of Cameroon. In depth molecular studies on the serotypes circulating in these regions are therefore needed to identify potential vaccine candidates and to design species-specific vaccines. Ultimately, the real burden and economic impact of this disease should be assessed nationwide.


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