Camel brucellosis and management practices in Jijiga and Babile districts, Eastern Ethiopia


Berhanu Tilahun*, Merga Bekana , Kelay Belihu and Endrias Zewdu

A cross-sectional study was carried out on sera of 822 randomly selected camels in order to estimate seroprevalence and risk factors of brucellosis and assess camel management practices. A questionnaire survey was administered to one-hundred willing respondents out of the total 185 camel owners whose camels were included in the sample unit. The sera were first screened by Rose Bengal plate test (RBPT) and then all positive reactors were further tested by the complement fixation test (CFT) for confirmation. The overall seroprevalence of brucella in camels was 2.43% (95% CI = 1.3 - 3.8). None of the potential risk factors studied (district, sex, age, herd size, camel rearing experience and parity) had significant effect on animal level seroprevalence (P > 0.05). The herd level seroprevalence was significantly associated with abortion (P = 0.012) and still birth (P = 0.016). Significant proportion (40%) of camel herders kept camels together with cattle, sheep and goats. Thirty -two percent of camel herders kept camel with cattle. The camel herd composition was dominated by pregnant (21.8%), lactating (21.1%) and mature non-lactating she camels (19.3%). The major diseases affecting camels were trypanosomiasis (93%), anthrax (80%), pneumonia (70%), “bent neck” (59%), abscess (59%), endoparasites (54%) and ectoparasites (51%). Camel management practices like herding, watering, milking, delivery and mating assistance were mainly the responsibilities of adults and young males. Although, seroprevalence of camel brucellosis was low, it could pose considerable threat to public health and market value of camels. The camel health and management practices are inadequate. Public education and detailed epidemiological studies of camel diseases were suggested.

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