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Trop Anim Health Prod. 2010 Oct;42(7):1565-72. doi: 10.1007/s11250-010-9607-1. Epub 2010 Jun 3.

Herd- and animal-level risk factors for bovine leptospirosis in Tanga region of Tanzania.

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  • 1Tanga Dairy Trust (TADAT), Box 1720, Tanga, Tanzania.


Leptospirosis is the zoonosis of worldwide distribution and common cause of economic loss and ill health among animals and human populations. A cross-sectional seroprevalence study, using a microscopic agglutination test (MAT) with a threshold titre of >or=1:160, to elucidate disease magnitude, distribution and associated risk factors in cattle in Tanga, Tanzania was conducted from May 2003 to January 2004. Serum (n = 655) samples collected from randomly selected herds (n = 130) were tested for antibodies against four different Leptospira interrogans serovars (Bataviae, Tarassovi, Hardjo and Pomona) used in the agglutination test. Positive titres were detected in 30.3% [95% confidence intervals (CI) = 26.7-33.9] of cattle and 58.5% (95% CI = 49.5-67.1) of herds, respectively. Of the 198 MAT positive serum samples, 98 (49.5%) were positive against serovar Hardjo, 80 (40.4%) were positive against serovar Tarassovi, 12 (6.1%) was positive against serovar Bataviae and eight (4%) were positive against serovar Pomona. Associations found to be statistically significant in univariate analyses (at P < 0.1) were assessed by multivariable logistic regression to control for confounding factors. The results showed that risk factors for cattle were pasture grazing [odd ratio (OR) = 2.83, 95% CI = 1.57-5.12, P = 0.001], presence of goats/sheep on the farm (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.17-2.56, P = 0.001) and age of the animal (OR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.42-2.96, P = 0.001), while concrete floor housing was protective (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.30-0.74, P = 0.001). Herds managed under pasture grazing system were more likely to be sero-positive than those managed under zero grazed practices (OR = 9.31; 95% CI = 3.67-23.64 for grazing herd). We concluded that bovine leptospirosis is an endemic and locally widespread disease in Tanga and suggest that it may play a role in zoonotic transmission to humans.

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