Risk factors for episodes of enteric disease in cattle wastes handlers in Tanzania
This study explored risk factors associated with episodes of enteric disease in animal waste handlers as occupational hazards in Tanzania. A qualitative survey involving 124 animal waste handlers from Morogoro peri-urban and urban areas was carried out. Large number of respondents (84) had experienced enteric episodes, and among these handlers, 56.0 % had reported this to a health facility while 44.0% had consulted a nearby pharmacyor drug shop. Heaping was the most practiced method of storage or cattle waste (52.4%) and most farmers deposited wastes within living plots (71.0 %). The percentage of handlers who were aware of risks of acquiring enteric episodes in animal waste handlers was low (43.6 %. There was limited awareness of government guideline on handling such wastes (3.2%) and washing hands without soap was found to be the most common health measures taken after handling animal wastes (70.2 %). The handlers who had experienced enteric episodes were found to be those who had little knowledge on occupational hazards (p=0.000 and OR=20.5), limited knowledge on enteric zoonotic pathogens (p=0.019 and OR = 8.62), and experience on handling cattle wastes was statistically associated with enteric episodes (p=0.000 and OR = 13.5). In addition there was a statistical difference in knowledge when the families with cattle were compared to those who not keep cattle (p= 0.0002). This study shows that animal wastes handlers are frequently experiencing enteric diseases, most probably because they are exposed to enteropathogens. Therefore, training on proper measures to handle animal wastes, protect themselves and the environment are urgently needed.
Keywords: Peri-urban; Occupational hazards; Episodes; Urban Livestock