Seroprevalence of brucellosis and its associated risk factors in cattle from smallholder dairy farms in Zimbabwe.
A cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate seroprevalence of brucellosis and the associated risk factors in cattle from smallholder dairy farms in Gokwe, Marirangwe, Mushagashe, Nharira, Rusitu and Wedza areas of Zimbabwe. A total of 1,440 cattle from 203 herds were tested serially for Brucella antibodies using Rose Bengal test and the competitive ELISA. Weighted seroprevalence estimates were calculated and risk factors in individual cattle investigated using logistic regression analysis. The overall individual animal brucellosis seroprevalence was low, with mean of 5.6% (95% confidence interval (CI), 4.4%, 6.8%). Gokwe had the highest individual (12.6%; 95% CI, 3.9%, 21.4%) and herd-level (40.0%; 95% CI, 22.1%, 58.0%), while Wedza had the lowest individual (2.3%; 95% CI, 0%, 5.3%) and herd-level (8.0%; 95% CI, 0.0%, 18.9%) brucellosis seroprevalence, respectively. In individual cattle, the area of origin, age and history of abortion were independently associated with brucellosis seroprevalence. While the seroprevalence was independent of sex, it decreased with increasing age. Cattle 2-4 years old had higher odds (odds ratio (OR)?=?3.2; 95% CI, 1.1%, 9.1%) of being seropositive compared to those >7 years. Cows with a history of abortion were more likely to be seropositive (OR?=?7.9; 95% CI, 3.1, 20.1) than controls. In conclusion, the area-to-area variation of brucellosis may be linked to ecological factors and differences in management practices. The implementation of stamping out policy, bleeding and testing animals before movement and promoting the use self-contained units are likely to significantly reduce the public health risks associated with Brucella infections in cattle.