Ovine Network between Fatteners and Breeders in Middle Atlas of Morocco: Where to Act to Prevent the Spread of Epidemics?

*Corresponding author: Lezaar Yassir*, Khayli Mounir, Caroline Coste, Renaud Lancelot and Bouslikhane Mohammed

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original research

Abstract

Objective

This cartographic and analytical study, using the social network analysis method, aims to characterize sheep mobility from breeders producing lambs in the Middle Atlas Mountains to the fattening centers, passing through livestock markets in order to describe the exchange network, to identify the main mobility hubs and to secure the production of fattening lambs by improving the efficiency of the epidemiological surveillance system for “peste des petits ruminants” (PPR) in lambs producers of the Middle Atlas in Morocco.

Design

Descriptive cross-sectional study within the framework of active epidemiological surveillance. It was carried out at a regional level, for mapping the movements of sheep and to analyze the network of exchange relating to this species by the Social Network Analysis (SNA) method in the middle atlas massif and in the zone of sheep fatteners to guide epidemiological surveillance efforts. A total of 807 breeders producing lambs, sheep fatteners and traders were surveyed, including 54 fatteners in fattening workshops (sampling fraction of 48.6%), 150 breeders and traders in livestock markets of Middle Atlas and 603 producing lamb breeders of this massif (sampling fraction at the massif level of 6.64%).

Results

The study revealed a very strong commercial relationship between middle Atlas breeders and fattening zone breeders whose longrange outflows mainly converge towards urban consumption centers. The major strategic livestock markets of the middle Atlas proved to be key points in the articulation of the flows, as was the commune gathering the fatteners. Centrality indicators were used to identify the main trade hubs that contribute to the spread of diseases and to quantify their importance in the influence of sheep movement, while network cohesion parameters have shown that network is vulnerable to the spread of epidemics.

Conclusion

The results of this survey revealed the main commercial hubs at the Middle Atlas level and at the level of the province of fatteners, which represent a great risk of spreading sheep diseases over long distances rather quickly in event of an epizootic, but also representing the ability to control the spread through the control of the movement of animals at their level.

Keywords

Ovine network; Epizotic of (Peste des Petits Ruminants); Mapping; Social network analysis; Hub; Betweenness; Degree; Strong component; Cutpoint.