Brucellosis in dairy herds: a public health concern in the milk supply chains of West and Central Africa
Ten herd-level cross-sectional studies were conducted in peri-urban dairy production areas of seven West and Central African countries (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo). The objectives were to estimate herd level Brucella spp. seroprevalence and identify risk factors for seropositivity.
In each of the ten study areas, herds (between 52 and 142 per area, total = 965) were selected probabilistically and a structured questionnaire was administered to gather information on their structure and management. A bulk milk sample from each herd was tested by indirect ELISA for Brucella spp. For each area, herd seroprevalence estimates were obtained after adjusting for the assumed performance of the diagnostic test. Herd level risk factors for Brucella spp. seropositivity were identified by means of stratified logistic regression, with each peri-urban zone as a stratum. Area-specific models were also explored.
Estimated herd seroprevalences were: Lomé (Togo) 62.0% (95% CI:55.0-69.0), Bamako (Mali) 32.5% (95% CI:28.0-37.0), Bujumbura (Burundi) 14.7% (95%CI:9.4-20.8), Bamenda (Cameroon) 12.6% (95% CI:7.6-21.9), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) 3.0% (95% CI:1.0-9.1), Ngaoundere (Cameroon) 2.3% (95% CI:1.0-7.0), Thies (Senegal) 1.3% (95% CI:0.1, 5.3), Niamey (Niger) 1.2% (95% CI:0.08-5.3), Dakar (Senegal) 0.2% (95% CI:0.01-1.7) and Niakhar (Senegal) <0.04%. Logistic regression modelling revealed transhumant herds to be at lower risk of infection (adjusted OR: 0.25, 95% CI: 0.13 - 0.5) and in one of the areas (Bamenda), regular purchase of new animals was found to be strongly associated with Brucella spp. seropositivity (adjusted OR = 5.3, 95% CI: 1.4-25.9). Our findings confirm that Brucella spp. circulates among dairy cattle supplying milk to urban consumers in West and Central Africa, posing a serious public health concern. Control programs are urgently needed in areas such as Lomé or Bamako, where more than 30% of the herds show evidence of infection.