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Brucellosis in domestic water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) of Trinidad and Tobago with comparative epidemiology to cattle

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Abstract

The water buffalo is an important domestic animal worldwide, and the local Buffalypso variety was developed in Trinidad to have improved beef qualities. Brucellosis was diagnosed in Trinidad and Tobago during 1998 in both cattle and domestic water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) populations. Brucellosis in the latter species is caused by infection with Brucella abortus, similar to bovine brucellosis. Control of brucellosis is of paramount importance to preservation of the genetic diversity of these animals in Trinidad, and this has been complicated by differences in the epidemiology of water buffalo and bovine brucellosis. Some diagnostic tests do not have comparable accuracy between the two species, and the RB51 vaccine does not adequately protect against infection in water buffalo. The water buffalo in Trinidad may also be more resistant to infection than cattle. Development of effective vaccination protocols is key to brucellosis control in Buffalypso in Trinidad, and prohibitions on import of virulent B. abortus strains for vaccine efficacy studies has impeded progress in this area. These Trinidadian strains are of variable virulence; some might be effective for challenge in vaccine efficacy studies, while other, of lower virulence, may be vaccine candidates for use in water buffalo.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the Campus Research Funds Committee, St. Augustine for providing funds for the research committee. We are also appreciative of the support provided by the management and staff of the Sugarcane Feeds Centre and we thank the staff of the Veterinary Public Health Unit, Ministry of Health for assisting with meat inspection of the slaughtered water buffalo and cattle at the end of the study and for collecting the lymph node samples. The technical support provided by Alva Stewart-Johnson and Elliot Neptune is acknowledged. We would also like to thank the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, UK, for confirmation and biotyping of Brucella isolates, the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Marine Resources (MALMR) for donating water buffalo, Caroni (1975) Ltd. for housing and feeding experimental animals, and the staff of the MALMR for the collection and transportation of specimens.

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Correspondence to Abiodun Adewale Adesiyun.

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Fosgate, G.T., Diptee, M.D., Ramnanan, A. et al. Brucellosis in domestic water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) of Trinidad and Tobago with comparative epidemiology to cattle. Trop Anim Health Prod 43, 1479–1486 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9846-9

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Keywords

  • Brucellosis
  • Buffalypso
  • Cattle
  • Domestic water buffalo
  • Epidemiology
  • Trinidad and Tobago