This study was designed to describe the status of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Ethiopia, through analysis of FMD outbreak reports and the detection of antibodies, to address the possibility of establishing a disease-free zone. Serum samples collected from cattle between 2003 and 2006 for the serosurveillance of rinderpest were used for this study. The records of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2002 to 2006 indicate that FMD outbreaks occurred each year in Ethiopia during this period, with the highest number in 2004, when 134 outbreaks took place. The highest rates were from the North Shoa zones of both the Oromia and Amhara regions. The serum samples were tested using the 3ABC enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit, to identify antibodies against FMD. From a total of 4,465 sera, 10.5% (n = 467) tested positive. The highest seroprevalence was detected in samples from the Eastern zone of Tigray with 41.5%; followed by the Guji zone of Oromia and Yeka district of the city of Addis Ababa, with 32.7% and 30%, respectively. Antibodies specific to FMD virus were not detected in Gambella or Benishangul. The effects of cattle, sheep and goat density, both separately and together, were analysed with a spatial regression model, but did not have a significant effect on seroprevalence. This indicates that other factors, such as farming systems and livestock movement, play a significant role in the occurrence of FMD. Based on these study findings, it might be appropriate to establish disease-free zones in Gambella and Benishangul.
Cattle – Disease-free zone – Epidemiology – Ethiopia – Foot and mouth disease.