Kenya: Seroprevalence of antibodies for BVDV, Brucella abortus and Neospora caninum, and their roles in the incidence of abortion/foetal loss in dairy cattle herds in Nakuru District

Tequiero Abuom Okumu, Njenga Munene John, James K. Wabacha, Victor Tsuma & John VanLeeuwen

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This is the first study to document the substantial incidence risk of BVDV and NC abortions in dairy cattle in Kenya, and demonstrates the relative importance of BA, BVDV and NC infections in dairy cattle in Kenya. Kenya laboratories should offer diagnostic tests for BVDV and NC to help farmers determine their roles in abortions on their farms. A comprehensive policy on the control of these important diseases should also be put in place by government with the involvement of all stakeholders in the dairy cattle industry.

In the 398 randomly selected cattle on 64 dairy herds, the seroprevalences of antibodies to BVDV, NC and BA were 79.1, 25.6 and 16.8%, respectively. Of the cattle seropositive to NC, 83.3% were also seropositive to BVDV and 13.7% to BA. Of the cattle seropositive to BVDV, 17.1% were also seropositive to BA. Among 260 monitored pregnant dairy cattle on the same 64 dairy farms, an incidence risk for abortion of 10.8% (28/260) was identified, while the incidence of other foetal losses was 1.1% (3/260). The incidence rates of sero-conversion for NC, BVD and BA were 1.1, 0.06 and 0.5 new infections/100 cow-months at risk, respectively. The foetal losses were mainly observed in animals less than 96 months old and occurred in mid-gestation. Neospora caninum was associated with most cases (29.0%) of foetal losses, followed by mixed infections of NC and BVDV (12.9%), BVDV (9.9%) and co-infections of BA and NC (6.5%).