Bovine trypanomiasis in South-Western Uganda: packed-cell volumes and prevalence of infection in the cattle.
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Following confirmed cases of trypanosomiasis (‘nagana’) and reports of trypanosome-attributable deaths among local cattle, a cross-sectional study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of bovine infection with trypanosomes in south–western Uganda. Cattle from 10 different localities were checked by the microscopical examination of wet bloodsmears and thin, stained bloodsmears, and by blood centrifugation followed by the examination of the resultant buffy coats. Of the 1309 cattle investigated, 6.42% (5.56% and 7.26% of those from the Mbarara and Mubende districts, respectively) were found to be infected. Of the positive animals, 71 (84.5%), 11 (13.1%) and two (2.4%) appeared to be infected with Trypanosoma vivax only, T. congolense only and both T. vivax and T. congolense, respectively. The prevalence of infection with T. vivax was significantly higher than that with T. congolense (P<0.001). The mean packed-cell volumes (PCV) for the trypanosome-positive animals were lower than those for the trypanosome-negative, whether the cattle considered were all those investigated (22.3% v. 29.0%; P<0.001) or just those from the Mbarara (22.8% v. 28.2%) or Mubende (21.5% v. 29.7%) districts. South–western Uganda has been relatively free of both human and bovine trypanosomiasis for the past three decades. The factors leading to the current resurgence of bovine trypanosomiasis need further investigation.