Cattle brucellosis in traditional livestock husbandry practice in Southern and Eastern Ethiopia, and its zoonotic implication

Megersa, Bekele; Biffa, Demelash; Niguse, Fekadu; Rufael, Tesfaye; Asmare, Kassahun; Skjerve, Eystein
January 2011
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica;2011, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p24
Academic Journal
Background: Cattle brucellosis has significant economic and zoonotic implication for the rural communities in Ethiopia in consequence of their traditional life styles, feeding habits and disease patterns. Hence, knowledge of brucellosis occurrence in traditional livestock husbandry practice has considerable importance in reducing the economic and public health impacts of the disease. Methods: A total of 1623 cattle sera were serially tested using the rose Bengal test as screening and complement fixation test as confirmatory tests. The Stata survey command was used to establish prevalences for the overall and individual variables, while potential risk factors for seropositivity were analyzed using a multivariable logistic regression analysis. Results: The results showed that 3.5% (95% CI = 2.4, 4.5%) of the animals and 26.1% (95% CI = 18.6, 33.7) of the herds tested had antibodies against Brucella species. Village level seroprevalence ranged from 0% to 100%. A higher seroprevalence was observed in pastoral system than mixed farming although this variable was not significant in the final model. The final logistic regression model identified herd size; with large (odd ratio (OR) = 8.0, 95% CI = 1.9, 33.6) and medium herds (OR = 8.1, 95% CI = 1.9, 34.2) showing higher risk of Brucella infection when compared to small herds. Similarly, the odds of Brucella infection was higher in cattle aged above 4 years when compared to age groups of 1-2 (OR = 5.4, 2.1, 12.9) and 3-4 years (OR = 3.1, 95% CI = 1.0, 9.6). Herd level analysis of the risk factors revealed that large and medium herds as well as herds kept with multiple livestock species were at higher risk of acquiring Brucella infection. Brucellosis in traditional livestock husbandry practices certainly poses a zoonotic risk to the public, in consequence of raw milk consumption, close contact with animals and provision of assistance during parturition. Due to lack of diagnostic facilities and information on its occurrence, human brucellosis is most likely misdiagnosed for other febrile diseases prevailing in the areas and treated empirically. Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrated that bovine brucellosis is widely prevalent in the study areas particularly in pastoral production system. Hence, the study suggests the need for implementing control measures and raising public awareness on prevention methods of brucellosis.


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