HSP is partnering with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) to address human brucellosis in southern Ethiopia. Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease that primarily affects cattle, sheep, goats, and camels and is passed to humans through unpasteurized milk, infected meat, and contact with animal secretions. In humans, brucellosis can affect any organ or organ system in the body and is difficult to diagnose due to varying symptoms. A common sign, however, is an intermittent fever, hence why brucellosis is also known as undulant fever. Symptoms—fever, flu-like illness, gastrointestinal issues—can last for months and may lead to complications like arthritis, swelling of the heart, liver, or spleen, chronic fatigue, and depression.
On March 4, HSP, CDC, and EPHI staff met in Addis Ababa to develop a strategy to introduce brucellosis prevention measures—like boiling milk—among the semi-pastoralist peoples of Borena, a southern zone in the Oromia Region. Before the strategy can be developed, however, we need to understand the local infrastructure and governance, as well as the communities’ current understanding of brucellosis and other diseases, and preferred methods of communication and education. HSP will be developing questionnaires and other tools to gather this important data before any intervention is developed. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting new project!