By A. Catley, J. Osman, C. Mawien, B.A. Jones, T.J. Leyland (2002). Preventive Veterinary Medicine 53/4, 275-284
During an investigation into a chronic wasting disease in southern Sudanese cattle, a participatory appraisal method called a ‘seasonal calendar’ was used to understand local perceptions of seasonal variations in cattle diseases, disease vectors, intermediate hosts and rainfall. Repetition of a standardized seasonal calendar with Dinka informants demonstrated good reproducibility of the method. Comparison of rainfall data produced by seasonal calendars and objective measures of rainfall demonstrated good validity of the seasonal calendar method. Subjective assessment of seasonal calendar scoring patterns by veterinarians indicated that herders’ perceptions of seasonal populations of biting flies, ticks and snails were similar to modern veterinary knowledge. The uses of seasonal calendars in veterinary epidemiology are discussed.