Bovine tuberculosis is among the primary zoonotic disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis. A cross-sectional study was conductedon 315 cattle in selected areas of eastern Ethiopia, aiming to estimate the occurrence of bovine tuberculosis using comparative intradermal tuberculin skin test and assess cattle owners’ awareness on its public health implication. Random sampling method was applied in order to select animals from farm/household. Forty three farm/household owners of tuberculin tested animals were interviewed using pre-tested structured questionnaires. The overall prevalence of bovine tuberculosis was 20.3 % (n=64) in dairy cattle at recommended cut off >4 mm. From a total of 43 farms/households tested, 22 were positive; each farm exhibited at least one tuberculin positive reactor animal with a total herd level prevalence of 51.2 %. The prevalence of bovine tuberculosis in individual animal level was significantly different (χ2=45.2; P-value <0.001) in different sites. Farming system, herd size and other risk factors were significantly (P<0.05) associated with bovine tuberculosis occurrence. Of the total interviewed farm owners, only 33 % had the knowledge of or had heard about bovine tuberculosis and 23 % respondents were aware of the zoonotic importance of the disease. More than 50 % of the interviewees had shown their preference of raw milk consumption. The study showed bovine tuberculosis is highly prevalent. The majority of cattle owners lack awareness about the disease and its public health significance. Awareness rising about the disease, its transmission and zoonotic implication is of great importance for reduction and control measures.

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