Identification, geographic distribution and risk factors of Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis infection in cattle in Algeria
Brucellosis is an infectious disease of several terrestrial and marine animals and humans caused by bacteria of the genus Brucella. This study aimed to identify Brucella species and biovars circulating in cattle and to analyze their geographic distribution across Algeria. Two hundred ninety eight milk and lymph node samples from 161 seropositive cattle of different local and foreign breeds were collected from 97 dairy farms in 56 towns of 13 wilayas (states/ provinces) of the central, eastern, western and southern regions. The samples were cultured on selective media and the obtained isolates were identified using bacteriological and molecular tests. Eighty-five Brucella isolates (72 B. abortus and 13 B. melitensis) were recovered from 63 animals in 37 dairy farms. In total, 71 (83.5%) B. abortus bv 3, 11 (12.9%) B. melitensis bv 2, 2 (2.4%) B. melitensis bv 3 and 1 (1.2%) unidentified B. abortus biovar were detected. The identification of B. abortus biovar 3 and B. melitensis biovar 2 is a new finding for Algeria and the Maghreb, respectively. B. abortus (84.7%) was the main etiological agent of brucellosis. B. abortus showed a scattered distribution across Algeria. The fact that 60% of the seropositive cattle showed no clinical signs, but 36% were culture positive is an alarming observation. These data will rise awareness for the current epidemiological situation of bovine brucellosis in Algeria. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first representative countrywide bacteriological investigation of Brucella species and biovars in cattle across Algeria, which is a developing country where resources might be limited and the working conditions might not be very friendly.