Open Access Research article

Factors associated with pastoral community knowledge and occurrence of mycobacterial infections in Human-Animal Interface areas of Nakasongola and Mubende districts, Uganda

Clovice Kankya12*, Adrian Muwonge2, Susan Olet1, Musso Munyeme23, Demelash Biffa2, John Opuda-Asibo1, Eystein Skjerve2 and James Oloya1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda

2 Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, P.O. Box 8146 Dep., 0033 Oslo, Norway

3 Department of Disease Control, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, P.O BOX 32379, Lusaka Zambia

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:471  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-471

Published: 10 August 2010



Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are emerging opportunistic pathogens whose role in human and animal disease is increasingly being recognized. Major concerns are their role as opportunistic pathogens in HIV/AIDS infections. The role of open natural water sources as source and livestock/wildlife as reservoirs of infections to man are well documented. This presents a health challenge to the pastoral systems in Africa that rely mostly on open natural water sources to meet livestock and human needs. Recent study in the pastoral areas of Uganda showed infections with same genotypes of NTM in pastoralists and their livestock. The aim of this study was to determine the environmental, animal husbandry and socio-demographic factors associated with occurrence and the pastoral community knowledge of mycobacterial infections at the human-environment-livestock/wildlife interface (HELI) areas in pastoral ecosystems of Uganda.


Two hundred and fifty three (253) individuals were subjected to a questionnaire survey across the study districts of Nakasongola and Mubende. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression analysis.


Humans sharing of the water sources with wild animals from the forest compared to savannah ecosystem (OR = 3.3), the tribe of herding pastoral community (OR = 7.9), number of rooms present in household (3-5 vs. 1-2 rooms) (OR = 3.3) were the socio-demographic factors that influenced the level of knowledge on mycobacterial infections among the pastoral communities. Tribe (OR = 6.4), use of spring vs. stream water for domestic use (OR = 4.5), presence of sediments in household water receptacle (OR = 2.32), non separation of water containers for drinking and domestic use (OR = 2.46), sharing of drinking water sources with wild animals (OR = 2.1), duration of involvement of >5 yrs in cattle keeping (OR = 3.7) and distance of household to animal night shelters (>20 meters) (OR = 3.8) were significant socio-demographic factors associated with the risk of occurrence of mycobacterioses among the pastoral communities in Uganda.


The socio-demographic, environmental and household related factors influence the risk of occurrence as well as pastoralists' knowledge of mycobacterial infections in the pastoral households at the human-environment-livestock/wildlife pastoral interface areas of Uganda.