Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Science


Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Olea Popelka, Francisco J.


There are key challenges people face due to the burden of tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and zoonotic tuberculosis (ZTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, in Kenyan Maasai rural communities. Thus, the objective of this study was to describe current capacities/infrastructure for diagnosis/treatment of TB/ZTB, and knowledge, attitudes, and practices among healthcare workers in rural Kajiado, Kenya.

Summary for Lay Audience

Annually, the World Health Organization reports over 10 million cases of TB disease among people, globally. TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and approximately 1.4 million deaths are caused by TB every year. An unknown number of TB cases are caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium bovis) transmitted from animals, mostly bovines, to humans, which causes zoonotic TB (ZTB) in humans. Kajiado County is home to a significant population of Maasai who are at higher risk for ZTB due to sociocultural practices that increase direct and indirect contact with infected animals and with food products containing M. bovis. These include consumption of raw milk and milk products. The burden of TB/ZTB are ultimately facilitated by a lack of knowledge and resources surrounding TB/ZTB. Thus, there is substantial need to evaluate the ability of Kajiado County healthcare facilities (HCFs) to diagnose, treat, and understand TB/ZTB. With help from Talaku – A Community Based Organization, a survey was delivered to 69 individuals at 25 local HCFs. The results of this project will contribute to providing key, new information to local stakeholders, and to create awareness for a neglected disease in rural Kenya.