A retrospective study (2007-2015) on brucellosis seropositivity in livestock in South Africa
In South Africa, brucellosis testing and record-keeping are done by several laboratories, thus it is difficult to access any organized data to assess the status of the disease. This study evaluated the seropositivity for brucellosis using Rose Bengal test and complement fixation test in suspect cattle, sheep, goats and pigs sera submitted to Bacterial Serology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research (ARC-OVR) from nine provinces in the country during the period 2007-2015. This retrospective data analysis was conducted to estimate the occurrence of brucellosis in the country from the submitted samples, identify variables that affected seropositivity for brucellosis, investigate existing gaps in data recording and make recommendations on important variables to facilitate better data capture and inferences on brucellosis. Nine years of data were collated and analysed to detect association (seropositivity over time regarding animal species and location). Of the 764,276 animals tested, the distribution of samples was 90.50% (691,539/764,276), 5.19% (39,672/764,276), 3.92% (29,967/764,276) and 0.41% (3,098/764,276) for cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, respectively. The seropositivity for brucellosis by animal species was 6.31% (43,666/691,539, 95% CI: 6.26-6.37), 2.09% (828/39,672, 95% CI: 1.95-2.23), 0.63% (189/29,967, 95% CI: 0.55-0.73) and 0.13% (4/3,098, 95% CI: 0.05-0.33) in cattle, sheep, goats and pigs respectively. The data available did not capture information on the age, sex, breed and other host risk factors that would have been related to seropositivity for brucellosis. The data provide an understanding of the disease occurrence and confirm that brucellosis is enzootic in South Africa. Improved and standardized data collection can be used to pro-actively drive, monitor, change or formulate policies to mitigate the challenges brought about by brucellosis in the livestock sector in South Africa.