Zooprophylaxis is one of the possible environmental vector control strategies for malaria prevention. However, its effect on reducing malaria transmission has been questionable, requiring a detailed understanding of contextual factors. This study aims to evaluate the effect of keeping livestock on malaria incidence in south-central Ethiopia. A cohort of 34,548 people in a total of 6,071 households was followed for 121 weeks from October 2014 to January 2017. Baseline data were collected, including livestock ownership. Weekly home visits were done to actively search for malaria cases, and passive case detection was also carried out. Malaria was diagnosed with rapid diagnostic tests. Log binomial and parametric regression survival-time models were used to estimate effect measures. A total of 27,471 residents had complete follow-ups, and the majority (87.5%) lived in households owning livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens. The overall incidence risk of malaria was 3.7%, and there was a 24% reduction in the risk of malaria among livestock owners. The total cohort contributed to 71,861.62 person-years of observation. The incidence rate of malaria was 14.7 cases per 1,000 person-years. There was a 17% reduction in the rate of malaria among livestock owners. Meanwhile, the protective effect of livestock ownership increased as the number of livestock or the livestock-to-human ratio increased. In conclusion, livestock owners had less malaria. In a setup where domestication of livestock is a common practice and the predominant malaria vector tends to feed more on livestock than humans, zooprophylaxis remains a promising strategy for malaria prevention.
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