Milk and meat consumption patterns and the potential risk of zoonotic disease transmission among urban and peri-urban dairy farmers in Ethiopia

Stijn Te Strake Udhpcfimq9Y Unsplash

About 20% the population consumed raw milk and their awareness about pasteurisation and its benefits were low.

Published: Thursday 3 February, 2022

3 February 2022

Tilaye Teklewold Deneke, Adam Bekele, Henrietta L. Moore, Tadele Mamo, Gizat Almaw, Getnet Abie Mekonnen, Adane Mihret, Rea Tschopp, Likawent Yeheyis, Catherine Hodge, James L. N. Wood, Stefan Berg & the ETHICOBOTS consortium

BMC Public Health volume 22, Article number: 222 (2022)

Abstract Background

In the Ethiopian dairy farming system, prevalence of zoonotic diseases such as bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is high in the cattle population. This, combined with some risky milk and meat consumption habits, such as raw milk and uninspected raw meat consumption, poses a considerable risk of zoonotic disease transmission. A survey was conducted to investigate milk and meat consumption patterns, and the level of exposure to urban and peri-urban dairy-keeping households for risks of zoonotic disease transmission.


Data on milk and meat consumption behaviours and other socioeconomic and demographic variables were collected from 480 urban and peri-urban dairy farms randomly surveyed in major towns in Ethiopia (Mekele, Hawassa, and Gondar towns, Addis Ababa city, as well as five Oromia towns around Addis Ababa). Determinants of raw milk consumption associated with a number of demographic and socio-economic factors were analysed using a generalised ordered logistic model.


The results indicated that about 20% the population consumed raw milk and their awareness about pasteurisation and its benefits were low. Location, gender of the household head, previous bTB testing of cattle on the farm, knowledge of zoonotic risks associated with raw milk consumption, household size, and per-capita milk consumption were found to be important determinants of the frequency of raw milk consumption. About 60% of the respondents were exposed to the risk of zoonotic diseases through their habit of frequently consuming raw meat. This was despite that over 90% of the respondents were aware of possible zoonotic risks of raw meat consumption. The determinants of raw meat consumption behaviours were associated with location, gender and age of the household head, household size, meat type preference, per-capita meat consumption, knowledge about disease transmission risks, and training on zoonoses. Conclusion Creating awareness about the risk factors for zoonotic transmission of diseases through training and media campaigns, improving meat hygiene through better abattoir services, and inducing behavioural change around meat sourcing, raw meat and raw milk consumption, are all crucial to the successful prevention and control of the spread of zoonotic diseases, including bTB.

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Image Credit: Stijn te Strake on Unsplash

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