A study was undertaken in northern Thailand to identify factors which put some villages at higher risk of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks than others. The number of FMD outbreaks experienced in the previous 5 years and data on 145 putative risk factors were obtained by interview from 60 villages during 1991-1992. Univariable analyses identified 27 factors for further investigation using logistic regression. When villages were classified into three FMD frequency groups of zero to one, two to three or four or more outbreaks in the last 5 years, the important factors explaining the differences in risk were the total number of cattle and buffaloes purchased in the previous year, the number of neighbouring villages which shared a common water source and whether agriculture was the most important source of cash income for the village. These factors were also the most important variables in explaining the difference in risk when comparing villages with zero or one outbreak with those having four or more. We concluded that the greatest impact on reducing spread of FMD among villages would be obtained through the development of strategies to reduce the likelihood of introduction through livestock purchases and for villagers to take greater care when livestock are grazed with those from neighbouring villages and when sharing common water supplies.
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