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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A large seroprevalence survey of brucellosis in cattle herds under diverse production systems in northern Nigeria

Hassan M Mai12*, Peter C Irons1, Junaidu Kabir3 and Peter N Thompson1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa

2 Animal Production Programme, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, P. M. B. 0248, Bauchi, Nigeria

3 Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

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BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:144  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-144

Published: 25 August 2012

Abstract

Background

This study was carried out to investigate the status of brucellosis in cattle under various management systems in Adamawa, Kaduna and Kano states, northern Nigeria. Using multi-stage sampling, serum samples of 4,745 cattle from 271 herds were tested using the Rose-Bengal plate-agglutination test (RBPT) and positives were confirmed using a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (c-ELISA).

Results

Prevalence estimates were calculated by adjusting for sampling weights and where possible for test sensitivity and specificity. Thirty-seven percent of all animals were RBPT positive, and after confirmation with c-ELISA the overall animal-level prevalence, adjusted for sampling weights, was 26.3% (95% CI, 22.1%-31.0%). Of the herds sampled, 210 (77.5%; 95% CI, 68.6%-84.5%) had at least one animal positive to both tests; this did not differ significantly between states (P = 0.538). Mean within-herd seroprevalence in positive herds was 30.2% (95% CI, 25.3%-35.1%) and ranged from 3.1% to 85.7%. Overall animal-level seroprevalences of 29.2% (95% CI, 22.5%-36.9%) n = 1,827, 23.3% (95% CI, 18.9%-28.3%) n = 1,870 and 26.7% (95% CI, 18.8%-36.7%) n = 1,048 were observed in Adamawa, Kaduna and Kano states, respectively (P = 0.496). A significantly higher seroprevalence was found in males (38.2%; 95% CI, 31.7%-45.2%) than in females (24.7%; 95% CI, 20.4%-29.5%) (P < 0.001) and in non-pregnant females (27.8%; 95% CI, 22.9%-33.5%) than in pregnant females (17.2%; 95% CI, 13.6%-21.5%) (P < 0.001). Seroprevalence increased with increasing age (P < 0.001), from 13.5% (95% CI, 8.9%-19.9%) in cattle <4 years to 35.0% (95% CI, 28.5%-42.3%) in cattle >7 years. Seroprevalence also varied between management systems (P < 0.001): pastoral systems 45.1% (95% CI, 38.6%-51.9%), zero-grazing systems 23.8% (95% CI, 6.8%-59.2%), agro-pastoral systems 22.0% (95% CI, 17.3%-27.8%), and commercial farms 15.9% (95% CI, 9.5%-25.5%). Seroprevalence did not differ significantly between breeds or lactation status.

Conclusion

This is the first large study to assess the prevalence of bovine brucellosis over a wide geographic area of northern Nigeria, in a variety of management systems and using accurate tests. The seroprevalence of brucellosis was high, and higher than results of previous studies in northern Nigeria. The pastoral management systems of the traditional Fulanis may be encouraging the dissemination of the disease. Public enlightenment of the farmers about the disease, vaccination and appropriate national control measures are recommended.

Keywords:
Brucellosis; c-ELISA; Management systems; Northern Nigeria; RBPT; Seroprevalence