Survey of brucellosis at the wildlife–livestock interface on the Zimbabwean side of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area

A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the seroprevalence of bovine brucellosis in communal cattle and wildlife at a wildlife–livestock interface in the southeast lowveld of Zimbabwe, part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. RBT and c-Elisa were used in serial for detection of antibodies against Brucella spp. Between July 2007 and October 2009, a total of 1,158 cattle were tested and the overall seroprevalence of brucellosis was 9.9%. A total of 97 wild animals (African buffaloes (n=47), impala (n=33), kudu (n=16), and giraffe (n=1)) were tested and only one animal (giraffe) was seropositive for brucellosis (1.03%). Brucella seroprevalence showed an increasing trend with age, with adult cattle (>6 years) recording the highest seroprevalence (11.1%), but the differences were not statistically significant. Similarly, female cattle recorded a relatively higher seroprevalence (10.8%) compared to males (7.9%), but the difference was not significant. However, a significant (P<0.001) association between Brucella seropositivity and abortion history was recorded in female cattle.
Similarly, Brucella seropositivity was significantly (P<0.01) associated with a history of grazing in the park for female cattle. Overall, from the interface area, cattle with a history of grazing in the park recorded a significantly (P<0.01) higher Brucella seroprevalence (13.5%) compared to those with no history of grazing in the park (4.9%). The significant association between abortion history and seropositivity observed in this study illustrates the potential economic significance of Brucella in cattle in this area. Hence, public awareness and further epidemiological studies of the disease in wildlife, livestock, and humans in the study area are of great importance.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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