Vaccination ups family wealth, girls' chances to attend secondary school

| Updated: Dec 16, 2016 21:55 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 16 (ANI): Researchers from Washington State University have found households that vaccinate their cattle earn an extra income that can be spent on food and education. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, found that vaccinating increased a household's income because fewer cattle died and disease free cattle produced more milk to feed the family or to be sold in the marketplace. "When households vaccinate, it increases their wealth and income and sets them on a trajectory to provide education for their children," said lead author Tom Marsh. "And it has an intergenerational effect if a family can spend more of their resources on education, especially for girls," he said. Households also saved money because vaccinated cattle did not need as many antibiotic treatments or to be sprayed as often for ticks, which spread the disease. "We are interested in understanding how the health of livestock translates into household decisions and meets sustainable development goals," said Marsh. "For example, concern about loss of milk production drives the adoption of vaccines because it is so important to households and children." "East Coast fever is one of the most devastating cattle diseases," said Marsh. "It is the leading cause of calf death in east Africa." For pastoral families, cattle are a main source of income. Losing even one to disease can negatively affect an entire family. Broader implications for antibiotic resistance. Households that vaccinated used fewer antibiotics to treat animals, so the widespread adoption of vaccinations could have larger global health benefits. "We need to think long term about the use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, as well as vaccines," said Marsh. "If organizations are going to invest more money on vaccines, then besides the known effects - such as fewer cattle deaths - we need to understand the indirect effects. "Developing better vaccines and easier ways to distribute them could have broad societal effects," he explained. (ANI)