The use of participatory approaches for improving our understanding of foot-and mouth-disease in Cambodia

Date and Time

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 12:30 to 13:30


The use of participatory approaches for improving our understanding of foot-and mouth-disease in Cambodia

By: Timothée Vergne

Audio recording available: here

Date: 15 April 2013
Time: 12:30h - 13:30h (Please bring your lunch along with you!)
Venue: London International Development Centre (LIDC), Upper Meeting Room, 36 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD
RSVP: Stella Wambugu (; please rsvp to help us estimate the number of atendees

The economic and social impacts of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) for livestock owners of developed countries have been extensively documented over the past few years. In developing countries such as Cambodia, this evaluation is often lacking due to the scarcity of accurate data. In the present study, we used a range of participatory tools to infer farmers’ knowledge and perception, and the relative incidence of FMD from January 2009 to June 2010 in a province of Cambodia. Our study shows that even if FMD is ranked second in the list of priority diseases, livestock owners did not see any benefit in reporting it since the disease entailed low direct losses as compared to other diseases such as haemorrhagic septicaemia. In addition, a quantitative assessment using Bayesian modelling was carried out to assess the accuracy of participatory approaches to retrospectively determine the FMD-infected status of a village in Cambodia. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of the participatory approach were estimated at 87%, 30%, 51% and 74%, respectively. Finally, results from the participatory approach were incorporated into a capture-recapture analysis to estimate the true prevalence of the disease taking into account the underreporting of FMD outbreaks to veterinary authorities. We estimated that nearly 315 villages of the province (nearly 50%) experienced clinical cases of FMD in 2009-2010 although only 112 were known by veterinary services. The participatory approach seems to largely overestimate the presence of the disease but proves useful in evaluating the impact of FMD at household level and in understanding the reasons for not reporting it. This information may be important in establishing well-adapted disease prevention and control strategies in Cambodia.

Timothée Vergne is a French veterinarian graduated in 2008 at the Veterinary Faculty of Toulouse, France. During his master degree on Animal Health and Epidemiology in Tropical Countries (CIRAD, France), he studied the transmission of Trypanosoma evansi in Thailand trying to understand the epidemiological link between small rodents and livestock. In September 2009, Timothée joined AGIRs unit from CIRAD (France) to work on his PhD project. In collaboration with the French Food Safety Agency (ANSES), he worked on the understanding of disease detection processes and the quantitative assessment of animal disease surveillance systems through capture-recapture methodologies, as well as on statistical modelling of disease surveillance data. His field work included ‘scrapie’ in France, foot-and-mouth disease in Cambodia and highly pathogenic avian influenza in Thailand and Egypt. He successfully defended his PhD in September 2012. In November 2012 he joined the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) as a research assistant.