Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 651–656 | Cite as

Seroprevalence of brucellosis and its contribution to abortion in cattle, camel, and goat kept under pastoral management in Borana, Ethiopia

  • Bekele Megersa
  • Demelash Biffa
  • Fufa Abunna
  • Alemayehu Regassa
  • Jacques Godfroid
  • Eystein Skjerve
Original Research


The involvement of Brucella infection in causing abortion was investigated in a breeding female subpopulation of 283 cattle, 756 camels, and 757 goats. Serum samples were serially tested using the Rose Bengal test and complement fixation test. The study showed that anti-Brucella antibodies were prevalent in 10.6% (95% confidence interval (CI), 7.4, 14.9), 2.2% (95%CI, 1.4, 3.7), and 1.9% (95%CI, 1.1, 3.2) of cattle, camel, and goats, respectively. Abortion was more commonly reported in camels (23.4%) than cattle (13.8%) and goats (12.4%). The results of this study suggested that Brucella infections contribute significantly to abortion in cattle (odds ratio (OR), = 4.7; 95%CI, 2.0, 10.8) and goats (OR = 6.9; 95%CI, 2.2, 21.7) but not in camels. The number of young animals produced by breeding females seems to be apparently reduced in seropositive groups. Keeping more than two animal species at household level was found to be the risk factor for cattle (OR = 3.1; 95%CI, 1.2, 7.9) and camel (OR = 5.3; 95%CI, 1.2–23.5) seropositivity to Brucella infection when compared to those animals from households that keep only two animal species. This may suggest a possibility of cross species transmission of Brucella infection under such mixed herding. Wet season (OR = 4.8; 95%CI, 1.3, 18.1) was found to be associated with seropositivity in goats, linked to a coincidence of increased deliveries in flocks with possible excretion of Brucella organisms. The study results suggest that Brucella infection is the likely cause of abortion in cattle and goats while other causes largely outweigh brucellosis as a cause of abortion in camels in Borana, hence, contributing to reproductive loss.


Brucellosis Seroprevalence Abortion Cattle Camel Goat Ethiopia 



This research was partly supported by Drylands Coordination Group (DCG), Norway as part of a camel disease research project and partly by the Research and Extension Office of Hawassa University. The field assistance of veterinary staff and willingness of animal owners to cooperate had vital contributions. All contributions are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bekele Megersa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Demelash Biffa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fufa Abunna
    • 1
  • Alemayehu Regassa
    • 1
  • Jacques Godfroid
    • 3
  • Eystein Skjerve
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary MedicineHawassa UniversityHawassaEthiopia
  2. 2.Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Norwegian School of Veterinary ScienceOsloNorway
  3. 3.Section of Arctic MedicineNorwegian School of Veterinary ScienceTromsøNorway

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