Reproductive infections in cattle in Tanzania – lessons for control priorities

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SOJ Microbiol Infect Dis


Reproductive disorders have negative impact on performance in cattle worldwide. Studies on infections causing reproductive disorders in Tanzania are few and fragmented, which complicates targeted disease prevention. To investigate the prevalence of selected infections and their associations with reproductive disorders and risk factors in cattle under different management systems, a cross-sectional study was conducted in two bordering regions in the southern highlands in Tanzania. Herd and individual animal level data were collected by direct observation and a semistructured questionnaire interview of the farmer. Sera from 658 cattle from 202 herds were analyzed using a commercial ELISA kits for antibodies to Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV), Brucella spp. and Neospora caninum. The logistic regression model identified herd size (odds ratio (OR): 14.5), location (OR: 23.1) and management system (grazing strategy) (OR: 22.7) as risk factors for Brucella spp. The same risk factors were also identified for BVDV herd size (OR: 2.8), location (OR: 12.7) and management system (OR: 2.9). History of abortion was associated with seropositivity for Brucella spp. (OR: 4.6). No risk factors, including location and presence of dogs, nor any association with reproductive disorders were identified for N. caninum. In one region the herd level sero-prevalence was 66.7% for BVDV and 36.1% for Brucella spp., while in the other it was 6.5% for BVDV and 0.6% for Brucella spp. In total, BVDV specific antibodies were found in 15.2% of the animals in 17.9% of the herds, and Brucella spp. specific antibodies were detected in 5.4% of the animals in 7.4% of the herds. Anti- N. caninum antibodies were found in 4.5% of animals in 8.4% of the herds. In conclusion, prevalence and impact of BVDV and Brucella spp. differed significantly between geographically closely related areas, most probably due to differences in management system that affects the potential for survival of the agents in the population. This shows that all control measures must be based on accurate epidemiological knowledge of the occurrence of the infection. Low-prevalence areas are highly susceptible for introduction of infection, while in the high-prevalence areas control measures must be implemented to reduce the impact and the risk of transferring Brucella spp. from livestock to humans.


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Abortion, Antibody-ELISA, Bovine, Brucella spp, BVDV, N caninum, Pestivirus, Reproductive-Disorders, Serology