Seroprevalence and risk factors associated with bovine brucellosis in the Potohar Plateau, Pakistan
Background The seroprevalence and risk factors of bovine brucellosis were studied at animal and herd level using a combination of culture, serological and molecular methods. The study was conducted in 253 randomly selected cattle herds of the Potohar plateau, Pakistan from which a total of 2709 serum (1462 cattle and 1247 buffaloes) and 2330 milk (1168 cattle and 1162 buffaloes) samples were collected. Data on risk factors associated with seroprevalence of brucellosis were collected through interviews using questionnaires. Univariable and multivariable random effects logistic regression models were used for identifying important risk factors at animal and herd levels. Results One hundred and seventy (6.3%) samples and 47 (18.6%) herds were seropositive for brucellosis by Rose Bengal Plate test. Variations in seroprevalence were observed across the different sampling sites. At animal level, sex, species and stock replacement were found to be potential risk factors for brucellosis. At herd level, herd size (≥9 animals) and insemination method used were important risk factors. The presence of Brucella DNA was confirmed with a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay (qRT-PCR) in 52.4% out of 170 serological positive samples. In total, 156 (6.7%) milk samples were positive by milk ring test. B. abortus biovar 1 was cultured from 5 positive milk samples. Conclusion This study shows that the seroprevalence of bovine brucellosis is high in some regions in Pakistan. Prevalence was associated with herd size, abortion history, insemination methods used, age, sex and stock replacement methods. The infected animal may act as source of infection for other animals and for humans. The development of control strategies for bovine brucellosis through implementation of continuous surveillance and education programs in Pakistan is warranted.