Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Survey of Brucella infection and malaria among Abattoir workers in Kampala and Mbarara Districts, Uganda

Immaculate Nabukenya1*, Deogratius Kaddu-Mulindwa2 and George William Nasinyama13

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biosecurity, Ecosystems and Veterinary Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

2 Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda

3 Directorate of Research and Graduate Training, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:901  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-901

Published: 30 September 2013



Brucellosis is among the most widespread zoonotic infections estimated at 14% in Uganda. A cross-sectional study was conducted to estimate the sero-prevalence, risk factors of Brucella infection and malaria among abattoir workers.


A survey was conducted among 232 abattoir workers in main abattoirs of Kampala and Mbarara districts in February 2007. A pre-tested questionnaire captured socio-demographic and occupational data. Brachial vein blood was tested for Brucella using Microplate Agglutination Test (MAT) and Standard Tube Agglutination Test (STAT) with a cut off titre of 1:160, and giemsa stained blood slides for malaria. Data was analyzed in SPSS 17.0.


Seven males (3%, n = 232) had malaria and dual brucella and Plasmodium falciparum malaria was found in one person. Brucella sero-positivity was 10% (95% CI 6 – 16; n = 232) with 12% (n = 161) in Kampala and 7% (n = 71) in Mbarara district. Non-use of protective gear Odds ratio (OR 3.3, 95% CI (1.25 – 50) and working in the abattoir beyond 5 years OR 2.4 95% CI (1.4 – 5.6) were associated with increased risk of Brucella infection. Age, sex, religion, keeping animals and consumption of raw milk or products were not significant.


Brucella infection is a real risk among abattoir workers and use of full protective gear reduced risk significantly. Sensitization and public health care programs are needed to control this emerging problem.

Brucella; Malaria; Brucellosis; Abattoir workers; Zoonoses; MAT; STAT; Seropositivity