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CAB Reviews

A reviews journal covering agriculture, global health, nutrition, natural resources and veterinary science

CAB Review

The impact of camel disease on human welfare in East Africa.


Despite being relatively neglected as a livestock species in most of the world, the dromedary camel is highly valued in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa - especially East Africa. This paper reviews the ways in which camel diseases impact human welfare in East Africa by discussing how diseases adversely affect the purposes for which East Africans use camels in light of the most pertinent and recent research. It begins with a brief examination of the camel's adaptability and resilience in extreme conditions. This adaptability of camels, as a livestock species, during changing climatic conditions directly impacts the resilience and food security of the pastoralist and consequently their welfare and survival. It then examines diseases that affect camel reproduction and calf viability, as these issues play a significant role in herd maintenance, growth and assurance of young replacement. Regardless of the primary use of camels by a given group of people, these measures are critical for maintaining the benefit derived by humans from owning the camels. Next, it looks at how various diseases affect production generally, since diseases that affect overall health will impact all purposes that benefit people. It discusses how diseases affect specific uses such as food, transportation and economy. Finally, it notes zoonotic diseases that may be a cause for concern for human health of individuals in contact with the camels or consuming their products.