Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Herd prevalence of bovine brucellosis and analysis of risk factors in cattle in urban and peri-urban areas of the Kampala economic zone, Uganda

Kohei Makita15*, Eric M Fèvre2, Charles Waiswa3, Mark C Eisler1, Michael Thrusfield4 and Susan C Welburn1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Infectious Diseases, Division of Pathway Medicine, School of Biomedical Science, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, 1 Summerhall Square, Edinburgh, EH9 1QH, UK

2 Centre for Infectious Diseases, Ashworth Laboratories, The University of Edinburgh, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JT, UK

3 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda

4 Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, The University of Edinburgh. EH25 9RG, UK

5 Current Address: School of Veterinary Medicine, Rakuno Gakuen University, Ebetsu, 069-8501, Japan, and Improving Marketing Opportunities Theme, International Livestock Research Institute, PO Box 30709, Nairobi, Kenya

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BMC Veterinary Research 2011, 7:60  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-60

Published: 18 October 2011



Human brucellosis has been found to be prevalent in the urban areas of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. A cross-sectional study was designed to generate precise information on the prevalence of brucellosis in cattle and risk factors for the disease in its urban and peri-urban dairy farming systems.


The adjusted herd prevalence of brucellosis was 6.5% (11/177, 95% CI: 3.6%-10.0%) and the adjusted individual animal prevalence was 5.0% (21/423, 95% CI: 2.7% - 9.3%) based on diagnosis using commercial kits of the competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CELISA) for Brucella abortus antibodies. Mean within-herd prevalence was found to be 25.9% (95% CI: 9.7% - 53.1%) and brucellosis prevalence in an infected herd ranged from 9.1% to 50%. A risk factor could not be identified at the animal level but two risk factors were identified at the herd level: large herd size and history of abortion. The mean number of milking cows in a free-grazing herd (5.0) was significantly larger than a herd with a movement restricted (1.7, p < 0.001).


Vaccination should be targeted at commercial large-scale farms with free-grazing farming to control brucellosis in cattle in and around Kampala city.