Serosurvey of Brucella abortus in cattle and goats in central and southern Uganda

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J Nakavuma
T. Kibirige Ssebunya
J. Opuda Asibo


A serological survey was undertaken from April 1990 to February 1993, to determine the exposure experience to Brucella abortus in cattle and goats in central and southern Uganda. Three serological tests, the standard tube agglutination test (SAT); rose bengal plate test (RBPT) and the milk ring test (MRT) were used. Samples in cluded blond from slaughter cattle (1,055) and goats (271), both from public abattoirs, as well as live cattle (676) from farms. Milk samples were collected from individual cows (208) on the various farms and from several milk collecting centres (364). For cattle, 14.7% (n=1,731) sera were positive by the RBPT and 12.5% (n=1,731) by SAT. The seropositivity for brucellosis as revealed by testing milk from individual dairy cows was 9.6% (n=208) as opposed to 38.5% (n=364) from milk collecting centres which included milk from local cows. From goats,8.9% (n=271) were positive by RBPT and 7% (n=271) by SAT. The prevalence was higher on farms with indigenous, 16.15% (n=291 ), than on farms with exotic breeds of cattle, 7.51% (n=303); and this was attributed to the better sanitary and husbandry methods in farms with exotic breeds. This has been the first comprehensive survey combining detection of antibodies in both serum and milk in cattle in Uganda and the most extensive in the Central and Southern regions of the country in particular. It has revealed a high prevalence of Brucella abortus infection among these food animals in the two regions, pointing tu both the potential for economic importance as well as the public health risk of this disease. Thus, there is need for instituting control measures.

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Nakavuma, J. ., Kibirige Ssebunya, T. ., & Opuda Asibo, J. (1999). Serosurvey of Brucella abortus in cattle and goats in central and southern Uganda. Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 4(1), 13–18. Retrieved from