Epidemiology and Infection



Prevalence of antibodies to Brucella spp. and risk factors related to high-risk occupational groups in Eritrea


M. K.  OMER  a1 a2, T.  ASSEFAW  a3, E.  SKJERVE  a2 c1, T.  TEKLEGHIORGHIS  a5 and Z.  WOLDEHIWET  a4
a1 College of Agriculture, University of Asmara, P.O. Box 1220, Eritrea
a2 Department of Pharmacology, Microbiology and Food Hygiene, the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, P.O. Box 8146 Dep., N-0033 Oslo, Norway
a3 College of Health Sciences, University of Asmara, P.O. Box 1220, Eritrea
a4 Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Liverpool, L69 3BX, Liverpool, UK
a5 Central Veterinary Laboratory, P.O. Box 1162, Asmara, Eritrea

Abstract

In a study of three high-risk occupational groups using Rose Bengal and complement fixation tests, the highest prevalence (7.1%) was found among dairy farm workers and owners in randomly selected dairy-cattle farms, followed by veterinary personnel (4.5%) and inhabitants in pastoralist areas (3.0%). There was no evidence for significant differences between the three populations. Among dairy farm workers, a higher risk was associated with the presence of sheep in the farm (OR = 13.2, CI = 2.2–76.7). In the pastoral area, a high risk was linked to having close contact with animals (OR = 6.32, CI = 0.88–[infty infinity]), while a reduced risk was seen for contact with cattle (OR = 0.18, CI = 0–1.30). Symptoms suggestive of brucellosis were more commonly observed among the dairy farm workers, mainly found in the highlands, than among the pastoralist area inhabitants, where malaria is prevalent. The study documents not only the presence of serological and clinical evidence of human brucellosis, but also risk factors related to it in Eritrea, for the first time.

(Accepted March 7 2002)


Correspondence:
c1 Author for correspondence.


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