An exploratory assessment of human and animal health concerns of smallholder farmers in rural communities of Chimborazo, Ecuador

Tamara L. Chavez-Lindell, Ana L. Moncayo, María Fernanda Vinueza Veloz, Agricola Odoi

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

2 Citas (Scopus)


Background. Livestock play important economic and cultural roles in smallholder communities of Ecuador, yet they also serve as potential sources of zoonotic infections. Understanding the animal and human health concerns of smallholder farmers is important in guiding strategies for improvement of the health and livelihoods of these resource-poor farmers. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to: (a) assess the health concerns of smallholder farmers; (b) explore animal and waste management practices; and (c) identify predictors of pediatric and livestock diarrhea on smallholder farms in Ecuador. Methods. This is a cross-sectional survey of 58 smallholder farmers in three communities of Chimborazo province, Ecuador. Data were collected on household demographics, smallholding characteristics, type of animals owned, human-animal interactions, health concerns, and 30-day occurrence of human as well as animal diarrhea. Summary statistics were computed and logistic models used to investigate predictors of pediatric and animal diarrhea. Results. All respondents reported keeping animals. Animals kept included cattle, pigs, poultry, dogs, guinea pigs, cats, sheep, horses, rabbits, donkeys, or other livestock. More than half of the respondents named diseases as their greatest personal (55.2%) or family (58.6%) health concern, while an even greater percentage (60.3%) reported physiological stress as the primary health concern for their animals. Occurrence of diarrhea in the 30 days prior to the study was reported by 12.1% of the respondents. Additionally, 15.2% and 55.2% of the households reported diarrhea among children and animals, respectively. The majority (65.5%) of the households had toilets, while the remainder had either latrines (27.6%) or no sanitation facilities (6.9%). However, only 9.1% of the smallholdings had either a toilet (3.6%) or a latrine (5.5%) onsite and yet the farmers tended to spend most of the day at the smallholdings. Potential exposures to gastrointestinal pathogens included food- or water-borne sources (93.5% of children; 91.4% of adults) and blood-borne or fecal sources (80.4% of children; 100% of adults). Although 98.3% of the respondents kept cattle, only 27.6% had animal enclosures and even fewer (15.5%) had animal waste management plans. The odds of animal diarrhea were significantly higher (Odds Ratio [OR] D 8.7; 95% Confidence Interval [1.0-75.0]; p=.049) among households that had animal waste management plans compared to those that did not. None of the variables investigated were significant predictors of pediatric diarrhea. Conclusions. Ongoing surveillance is needed to develop estimates of diarrhea incidence among smallholder families and their livestock. The impact of different animal management strategies on the potential pathogen exposure of smallholders warrants further investigations. Improving sanitation infrastructure and animal waste management strategies is recommended.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoe12208
EstadoPublicada - 17 ene. 2022

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Copyright 2022 Chavez-Lindell et al.


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