One Health profile of a community at the wildlife-domestic animal interface, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Amanda M. Berrian, Jacques van Rooyen, Beatriz Martinez Lopez, Darryn Knobel, Gregory J G Simpson, Michael S Wilkes, Patricia A Conrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We used a community engagement approach to develop a One Health profile of an agro-pastoralist population at the interface of wildlife areas in eastern South Africa. Representatives from 262 randomly-selected households participated in an in-person, cross-sectional survey. Questions were designed to ascertain the participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices with regard to human health, domestic animal health, and natural resources including wildlife and water. Surveys were conducted within four selected villages by a team of trained surveyors and translators over four weeks in July–August 2013. Questions were a combination of multiple choice (single answer), multiple selection, open-ended, and Likert scale. The study found that nearly three-quarters of all households surveyed reported owning at least one animal (55% owned chickens, 31% dogs, 25% cattle, 16% goats, 9% cats, and 5% pigs). Among the animal-owning respondents, health concerns identified included dissatisfaction with government-run cattle dip facilities (97%) and frequent morbidity and mortality of chickens that had clinical signs consistent with Newcastle disease (49%). Sixty-one percent of participants believed that diseases of animals could be transmitted to humans. Ninety-six percent of respondents desired greater knowledge about animal diseases. With regard to human health issues, the primary barrier to health care access was related to transportation to/from the community health clinics. Environmental health issues revealed by the survey included disparities by village in drinking water reliability and frequent domiciliary rodent sightings positively associated with increased household size and chicken ownership. Attitudes towards conservation were generally favorable; however, the community demonstrated a strong preference for a dichotomous approach to wildlife management, one that separated wildlife from humans. Due to the location of the community, which neighbors the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, and the livestock-dependent lifestyle of the resource-poor inhabitants, a One Health approach that takes into consideration the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health is necessary. The community profile described in this study provides a foundation for health research and planning initiatives that are driven by community engagement and consider the multitude of factors affecting health at the human-domestic animal-wildlife interface. Furthermore, it allows for the determination and quantification of the linkages between human, animal, and environmental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Community engagement
  • Needs assessment
  • Participatory epidemiology
  • Survey
  • Transfrontier conservation area
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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