, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 195-206

Prevalence of antibodies to Brucella spp. and individual risk Factors of Infection in Traditional Cattle, Goats and Sheep Reared in Livestock–Wildlife Interface Areas of Zambia

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Abstract

A cross-sectional study was performed in the livestock–wildlife interface areas of Lochinvar and Blue Lagoon National Parks and the non-interface area of Kazungula to determine the prevalence of antibodies to Brucella spp. in domestic ruminants and identify individual animal risk factors of infection. A total of 1245 cattle from 124 herds and 280 goats and sheep from 29 flocks were tested sequentially for Brucella antibodies using the Rose Bengal test (RBT) and competitive ELISA. In cattle, individual seroprevalence ranged from 14.1% to 28.1%, while herd sero–prevalence ranged from 46.2% to 74.0% in the three study areas. No goat or sheep tested positive for Brucella antibodies. Three types of cattle grazing strategies were encountered: locally grazed herds (LGH), transhumantly grazed herds (TGH) and river flood plain grazed herds (FGH). Brucella seroprevalence was seen to vary according to area and grazing strategy: Lochinvar and transhumant grazed herds recorded the highest figures, respectively. Age, sex and history of abortion were found to have independent effects on individual seroprevalence. This study establishes that brucellosis is endemic in domestic animals in the livestock–wildlife interface areas of Blue Lagoon and Lochinvar national parks and the disease is also present in Kazungula. We observed that type of grazing strategy had significant impact on cattle Brucella seroprevalence and that transhumant herds were at high risk of being infected.