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Prev Vet Med. 2011 Jul 1;100(3-4):256-60. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2011.03.013. Epub 2011 May 1.

Brucella seroprevalence of the Kafue lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) and Black lechwe (Kobus leche smithemani): exposure associated to contact with cattle.

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  • 1Department of Disease Control, University of Zambia, School of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia.


We investigated Brucella seroprevalence in Kafue (Kobus leche kafuensis) and Black (Kobus leche smithemani) lechwe antelopes to assess Brucella infections in relation to presence/absence of cattle interaction on the wetlands. Accordingly, two study populations based on cattle interaction were assesed: Kafue lechwe from Kafue flats which interact with cattle; and the Black lechwe with no known interaction with cattle from the Bangweulu swamps. Fourteen Kafue lechwe and thirty Black lechwe were slaughtered between October and December 2009 using special research licenses obtained from the Zambia wildlife authority to investigate diseases in lechwe antelope. For the purpose of this study, blood was collected and sera separated for Rose Bengal and indirect ELISA tests. Seroprevalence of Brucella in the Kafue lechwe was estimated at 42.9% [95% CI: 15.2-70.5] while that in Black lechwe was 0% [95% CI:0.0-11.6]. On the Kafue flats, cattle were spotted grazing in the same areas as lechwe while there was no evidence of cattle presence on the Bangweulu swamps. These differences in seroprevalence between Kafue lechwe and Black lechwe were assumed to be associated with interaction between Kafue lechwe and Brucella infected cattle, and no such contact existed between cattle and the Black lechwe. Our study suggests that brucellosis in the Kafue lechwe may have originated from cattle but has now established a reservoir in wild animals. It is also important to keep in mind that the Black lechwe can easily become infected with Brucella spp. once cattle are introduced in the surrounding areas.

© 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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