Shedding rate of Brucella spp. in the milk of seropositive and seronegative dairy cattle

Brucellosis in cattle herds has caused severe economic losses in many regions worldwide. A cross-sectional study was performed to investigate the presence of Brucella spp. in industrial dairy cattle farms in Iran. For this purpose, 935 blood and 935 milk samples were randomly collected from industrial dairy cattle farms in Iran's Alborz and Tehran provinces. Blood and milk samples were collected on the same day from each cow. Serological, bacteriological, and molecular characterization of Brucella isolates were performed using standard methods. Our results revealed the seroprevalence of brucellosis in dairy cattle farms in the Alborz and Tehran provinces, reaching 19.8%, 6.7%, 5.1%, 14.1%, and 13.1% using the Rose Bengal plate test (RBPT), serum agglutination test (SAT), 2-mercaptoethanol test (2-ME), indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (i-ELISA) and milk ring test (MRT), respectively. Furthermore, the results of bacterial culture and PCR analyses showed the presence of Brucella abortus among dairy cattle in the Alborz province and Brucella melitensis and B. abortus among dairy cattle in the Tehran province. Moreover, statistical analysis with Cohen's Kappa has highlighted the near-perfect agreement between RBPT and i-ELISA (k = 0.86). In contrast, substantial agreement was shown between RBPT and SAT performance (k = 0.70) and moderate agreement between RBPT and 2-ME (k = 0.67). The findings of this investigation showed shedding of Brucella in the milk of seropositive cows, which is a serious problem involving the maintenance and further spread of Brucella infection on the farm. Therefore, for brucellosis detection or eradication in dairy cattle farms, bacteriological and serological tests of milk samples should be performed along with blood analysis to inhibit the uncontrolled spread of the disease in animals and humans.



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