Our results indicate that 39.6% of cattle owners were cognisant of bovine tuberculosis across the study areas. However, only 7% had basic knowledge of the disease in terms of its mode of spread. Further, all those who knew how the disease was spread were cattle owners based in Lochinvar which is a high prevalence setting [3, 12, 14] and none from Kazungula (a low prevalence setting) . Blue lagoon despite being in a high prevalence setting reported no cattle owner with basic knowledge on how tuberculosis is spread. Considering that both Lochinvar and Blue lagoon are in the high prevalence setting , these findings intimate area variations as a platform evincing different factors of BTB awareness, albeit the similarity in prevalence setting. This variation in the levels of awareness between two regions sharing high prevalence and similar ecological settings may suggest the presence of different underlying factors unique to the two areas. Notable about Lochinvar is the presence of a defunct abattoir  which was operational between 1968 to 1972 for specifically screening wild animals for tuberculosis and other infections [13, 14, 20]. This was a point of reference by Lochinvar cattle owners who had better knowledge of the disease than those in other areas. These results suggest that to a larger extent, area deterministic factors may have additional effects on disease awareness levels by cattle owners. Further, history of wildlife culling in the 1970s, to detect BTB in lechwe antelopes [13, 14, 20] in Lochinvar may have created an extra source of information to the local cattle owners in this area.
Based on earlier epidemiological studies, high prevalence of BTB appear to have had an effect on the awareness of the disease . Other studies have indicated that the level of disease awareness among famers is related to the prevalence of the disease . However, these observations are related to area dependant factors that influence the existence of high prevalence, i.e., the presence of wildlife reservoirs of the disease [10, 22]. Such underlying factors may be sufficient determinants in closely related ecological areas like in Lochinvar and Blue lagoon, with both areas sustaining high prevalence settings, hence having a much higher level of cattle owners' awareness of BTB than Kazungula with a different ecological setting.
Despite the lack of awareness on BTB by most cattle owners, they were worried about introducing diseases into their cattle herds, as over one third of the owners had experienced the pain of taking an animal to the abattoir and to have its plucks condemned (Table 1), and sometimes whole carcasses condemnations. This was of particular concern to cattle owners as it resulted in direct loss of income, and these formed the core majority of the cattle owners who were aware of tuberculosis in both the high and low prevalence settings. Further, the study found a strong association between having a BTB positive herd on skin test and level of awareness by the cattle owners (χ2 = 7.3, df = 1, P < 0.001).
As herd size increased, cattle owners tend to take their animals into the plains joining into the practice of transhumance grazing which brings their animals in contact with wildlife .
During such periods, livestock and wild animals share drinking points. Sharing of water between wildlife and cattle was identified as a significant factor for BTB positivity. However, this may have been a bit subjective considering that not every cattle owner may have had seen their cattle sharing water points with wild animals simultaneously. However, during the questionnaire interview, the family members sat as a group to give as much accurate information as possible and the herd boys were available in most cases and further the family members accounted for more than 80% of the people who herded the animals consolidating the accuracy of the information.
Studies elsewhere have shown that closeness to disease increased concern among cattle owners . However, this was not in agreement with what is obtaining in the high BTB prevalence area of Blue lagoon, where despite high prevalence; the interest shown was low, but similar findings are congruent with what is obtaining in Lochinvar area .
Our results are important in managing not only BTB in complex pastoral communities where perceptions to disease occurrence vary and where standard disease control measures may fail to achieve desired results. However, our results intimate that disease control in livestock should incorporate socio aspects. Our findings, where cattle owners with good knowledge of the disease were those with prior exposure to BTB control activities merits further exploitation of farmer supported programs and actions in areas where such knowledge is deficient. Further from this study, the major factors that were identified to be influencing knowledge gaps between different BTB prevalence settings were not only plausible biologically, but also socially. This underscores the importance of disease awareness campaigns. This should take form in farmer education, farmer supported actions and participation in disease extension services. Such active participation in disease control activities will develop the farmers' interests further assisting disease control experts when adopting workable methodologies aimed at controlling livestock diseases such as BTB in diverse farming communities with varying levels of disease perceptions among cattle owners. In summation, these are key lessons that may be relevant for other settings where a similar situation may exist before standard disease control measures through a multifaceted approach involving Veterinarians and Sociologists are envisaged.
The validity of the data may be affected by interviewer bias, but this was avoided by limiting only to two persons as interviewers during the whole period of the study. In order to improve the accuracy of the data collected during these interviews, the data relevant for the TB survey were collected simultaneously with data collected for other TB and Brucella questionnaires[12, 24, 25] Further, the questionnaires were pretested to avoid confounding questions and to test for clarity of the questions among other aspects. Our study was designed and conducted as cross sectional in nature. However, this design has limitations of considering events at a particular point in time. Perceptions differ with time and the lack of information before the abattoir was built in Lochinvar denied the study comparative reference. However, the findings represent prevailing levels of awareness by cattle owners in high and low prevalence settings in relation to epidemiological characteristics of BTB at the time of the study. Additionally, we tried to reduce recall bias by basing questions to the preceding 12 months before the study period. In case this study was to be conducted again, the questionnaire design would include both dichotomous variables from closed questions and open questions especially were the range of responses is not known.
All in all, our results indicate a relatively good level of disease awareness to those cattle owners in areas of high prevalence settings, peculiarly in areas augmented by existing secondary factors, activities and epidemiological characteristics related to the disease under consideration. These findings further highlight the need to sensitize cattle owners on prevailing diseases, drawing on their support, both as counterpart contact personnel for extension services as well as supporters of the disease control programs.