a1 Department of Paraclinical Veterinary Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
a2 Department of Disease Control, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia
a3 National Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway
a4 Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Oslo, Norway
Risk factors for Brucella infection, the association and impact of Brucella seropositivity on abortions were investigated in cattle (n=1291) reared in smallholder household herds (n=203) from six geographical areas of Zimbabwe between September 2004 and 2005. Data on management, abortion and herd structure were collected. Sera were tested for Brucella antibodies using the Rose Bengal test and a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Data were analysed by generalized estimating equation and logistic regression models. Brucella antibodies were estimated at 5·5% and 22·9% for individual cattle and herds, respectively. Abortions were reported in 3·2% of cows and 22·0% herds. The age of cows and Brucella seropositivity predicted abortion. For herds, Brucella seropositivity, geographical area, purchase of cattle and large herd size were independently associated with increased odds of abortion. Exposure to Brucella had a significant impact on abortion. These results highlight the important risk factors for Brucella spp. infection in smallholder herds. Thus, brucellosis control programmes which take these factors into consideration will be beneficial.
(Accepted March 31 2010)
(Online publication May 18 2010)