Mwangi Rachel Mbaire
Abstract: Brucellosis is a cosmopolitan zoonotic disease that affects man, domestic animals and wildlife. The bacteria Brucella abortus is the principle cause of brucellosis in cattle. The incidence of the disease in humans, and which directly relates to that in other animals, is highly dependent on animal husbandry practices, the interaction between humans and animals, living standards, hygiene, food customs, and animal and human population density. Makuyu Division where the study was undertaken experiences hot and dry climate, the area has no permanent rivers and domestic water is obtained from boreholes. Most families live in congested homes and are provided with relieve food by the Government. The standard of hygiene is very low and most of the people are poor. In August 2009 six cases of retained placenta disease were reported to Makuyu veterinary Department among other diseases. Most people are readily exposed to infected animals or indirectly to milk, water and environment contaminated by brucellosis. It is for these reasons that the study was undertaken with the aim to determine prevalence of Brucella abortus in dairy cattle and assess knowledge of the disease among the dairy farmers. The study involved random sampling of dairy cattle in the division and a representative sample of two hundred and eight milk and blood samples were collected. The samples were screened at the Central Veterinary Laboratories, Kabete. Immunological tests were used to test presence of Brucella abortus antibodies. A questionnaire was used to assess knowledge of brucellosis among the dairy farmers and determine utilization and accessibility to veterinary services. Data analysis involved descriptive statistics to obtain prevalence rate. The percentage prevalence of brucellosis in dairy cattle as determined by both MRT and RBPT were 7.7 % and 1.9 % respectively. Knowledge of brucellosis was significantly related to the age and level of education of the farmers. The young and educated farmers were more knowledgeable on brucellosis than those who were old and not educated. The old and not educated were the majority and they had no idea on what causes brucellosis in cattle. The Ministries of Health and Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries will use the results in targeting education and prevention programs to address the disease. Farmers will be educated on methods of controlling brucellosis to reduce prevalence, use of artificial insemination to reduce venereal transmission of brucellosis during mating, herd health campaign with frequent screening for brucellosis to identify infected animals so that they can be slaughtered to eradicate the disease and food and occupational hygiene to prevent transmission of brucellosis to human beings.
Keywords: Brucellosis, Brucella species, Milk Ring Test