Seroprevalence and Molecular Diagnosis of Brucellosis Among Patients at Selected Hospitals of Abbottabad, Pakistan : [Preprint]
Background: Brucellosis is a neglected disease of ruminants with zoonotic potential. It causes severe health problems in humans and economic loss. Only a limited number of studies have been conducted in Pakistan to determine the prevalence of human brucellosis and related risk factors. The objectives of the current cross-sectional study were to determine prevalence of Brucella infection in sera collected from patients at three hospitals of Abbottabad. Risk factors were investigated. Methods: A total of 500 blood samples were collected. A questionnaire was filled in for each patient to obtain information on age, gender, living area, brucellosis associated symptoms, associated risk factors, pregnancy and abortion history. Serum agglutination test (SAT) was performed to detect antibodies against brucellae. A genus specific BCSP-31 gene RT-PCR was used to detect Brucella DNA in the sample. Statistical analysis was done to determine odd ratios, risk ratios, 95% confidence intervals and p values. Results: A total of 13.6% (n=68) patients were found to be SAT positive. DNA was found in 11.4% (n=57) samples. The prevalence of brucellosis was reported to be higher in women (14.6%, n=44) than in man (12.1%, n=24). The age group of 25-50 years was found to be at higher risk for brucellosis (14.5%, n=50). “Animal contact” was reported as the main risk factor followed by “consumption of raw animal products”. About 9.9% pregnant women (n=13) were found brucellosis positive. Of these 23.8% (n=5) had an abortion history. Conclusions: The present study reports a striking prevalence of brucellosis among patients including pregnant women at three hospitals of Abbottabad. These findings must foster strategies for controlling human brucellosis at household level, raising of awareness about brucellosis in hospital and family doctors and finally in setting up an eradication program in the dairy industry.