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Sheikh Technical Veterinary School

STUDY ON
PREVALENCE OF CAMEL
BRUCELLOSIS
IN SHEIKH DISTRICT
Thesis for Diploma in Livestock Health
Science

BY
MOHAMED HASSAN BARRE
No. 039

25TH JULY 2009

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Sheikh Technical Veterinary School

Declaration

I am Ahmed Mohamed Egeh declaring here that this work is my


original work, and has not appeared any where else in any other form
except for the references made from other published works.

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Sheikh Technical Veterinary School

Table of content
Introduction………………………………………………………..........1
Literature review …………………………………………………………3
Methods and Materials....…………………………………………….5
Animals and data collection…………………………………………6
Sampling and Sample processing……………………………….6
Result …………………………………………………………….............7
Discussion………………………………………………………………….10
Conclusion and Recommendation..........................15
Reference……………………………………………………………………13

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Firstly; I thank Allah for giving me this opportunity, courage and
guidance to complete this research. He makes it possible for things to
happen. I wish to state my gratitude and appreciation to my
supervisor DR: IBRAHIM OSMAN for his encouragement , guidance
,support , motivation , constrictive criticism and suggestions which
made this dissertation an invaluable learning experience for me.
Without him it would not have been possible for me to complete this
dissertation.
I am also deeply thankful to the pastoralists who provided me the
samples needed without complain which in time made the completion
of the study possible. I wish to acknowledge their contribution.
The researcher is thankful to the Lab technician Mr. Mudasir and his
assistant Mr. Abdikaream for their support.

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Introduction
Somalia economy is largely depended upon livestock accounting for
about 60% of the national income. Camel population is the largest in
Africa, the number recorded being 6.3 million (Refai 2002).

Camels are essential sources of human food and constitute important


supplies of milk, meat and wool, in addition to their use in the
traditional popular racing sport, which is important to the rapidly
growing tourism industry in Arab countries.

Brucellosis is a disease caused by various species of the genus


Brucella; it is the most widely spread zoonotic disease in the world
(Mustafa, M. and P. Nicoletti, 1993). Cross-transmission of brucellosis
can occur between cattle, sheep, goats, camels and other species.
Brucellosis is still endemic in countries of the Mediterranean basin, the
Middle East and central Asia. Human infection due to Brucella from
camels is known to occur mostly through the consumption of un-
pasteurized milk (FAO/WHO, 1986). Camels are frequently infected
with Brucella organisms, especially when they get in contact with
infected large and small ruminants (Radwan, A.I., S.J. Bekairi and
P.V.S. Prasad, 1992). Serological evidence for Brucella infection in
camels has been reported from Asia and Africa (Okoh. A.E.J.,
1979). The relation between Brucella infection and abortion in camels
has been recorded (Higgins, A., 1986). Both Brucella abortus and
Brucella melitensis have been isolated from fetuses, genital
discharges, urine and milk (FAO/WHO, 1986).

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Brucellosis is essentially a herd disease. The clinical presentation in


cattle and water buffalo include abortions in the third trimester
accompanied with retained placentas, metritis, and infertility. Infected
bulls usually contract orchitis and became sterile.

Humans are infected by animals through direct contact of infected


animal tissues, ingestion of infected animal products, or inhalation of
airborne bacteria.
Common sources include fetuses, placental membranes, uterine fluids,
un-pasteurized milk or cheese. Raw vegetables and water
contaminated with excreta and reproductive fluids from infected
animals can also serve as a source of infection.
Persons of all ages are susceptible to brucellosis; however those at
greatest risk are in occupations which bring them in close contact with
diseased animals (i.e. abattoir workers, veterinarians, livestock
producers, and laboratory personnel). Most occupational cases
occur in men who are between 20-35 years of age.

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Literature review
Brucellosis is one of the most serious diseases of livestock, which
constitute a major impediment for livestock trade. Although brucellosis
has been eradicated in many developed countries in Europe, (Geering
et al. 1995), it remains an uncontrolled problem and its prevalence in
many developing countries is increasing (Refai 2002). Almost all
domestic species can be affected with brucellosis and cross-
transmission can occur between cattle, sheep, goats, camels and other
species. Infection rate in camels depends upon the infection rate in
primary host animals in contact with them as camels are not known to
be primary hosts for any of Brucella organisms (Agab et al. 1994).
Camel brucellosis was recoded to be caused by biotypes of B. abortus
and B. melitensis with 1.9–20% prevalence (Abbas and Agab, 2002).
It has been recorded in African and Asian countries where camels are
raised (Radwan et al. 1995; Musa and Shigidi 2001). The diagnostic
method known to produce the best results is by the isolation of
Brucella organisms; however, this method is unpractical to apply at a
large scale in control campaigns. Accordingly, the indirect diagnosis of
disease using serological tests is of choice. The standard Rose Bengal
plate test (RBPT) are the official tests currently used in the EU, which
has very high sensitivity but low specificity (Barroso et al. 2002; Muma
et al. 2008); however, a positive result is required to be confirmed by
some other more specific test like (I-ELISA) (Schelling et al. 2003).
During recent years, different indirect Enzyme- Linked Immunosorbent
Assays (I-ELISA) using smooth Lipopolysaccharides (S-LPS) as the
antigen have been reported to be at least as sensitive and specific as
the combination of both RB and CF tests for the diagnosis of
brucellosis in ruminants (Marín et al. 1998; Marín et al. 1999;
Samartino et al. 1999). In many countries, control of brucellosis

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depends upon the test and slaughter program combined with


vaccination of the susceptible population. In Somaliland this policy is
not applicable. The regional brucellosis prevalence, will determine what
to do first and which measure should be followed for control of the
disease. Little reports on prevalence of brucellosis in camels in central
and south Somalia have been carried out (Baumann and Zessin 1992).

In East Africa a cross-sectional investigation was made into the


prevalence of brucellosis in camels in three arid and semi-arid camel
rearing regions of Ethiopia (Afar, Somali and Borena) between
November 2000 and April 2001. Where sera collected from 1442
accessible camels were screened with the Rose Bengal plate test
(RBPT), 82 (5.7%) of them reacted. The results of a complement
fixation test (CFT) on those sera that had given a positive reaction to
the screening test then indicated a 4.2% prevalence of brucellosis in
the tested camels.

In Somaliland there is a study which was carried out by


(Yasser M. Ghanem et al; 2008) last year whose purpose was to
investigate the prevalence and risk factors of camel brucellosis in
Northern Somalia (Somaliland). The study was carried out at three
main districts of camel-rearing regions of Somaliland (Awdal,
Maroodi jeex and Togdheer) in the period from July to November,
2008. A total of 1246 camel blood sera were randomly collected from
42 sporadic small scale camel herds. Two serological tests were used
to screen all serum samples, Rose Bengal Plate Test (RBPT) and
indirect ELISA (I-ELISA).The overall prevalence of camel brucellosis in
the districts under investigation was 3.9% by RBPT and 3.1% by (I-
ELISA).

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The main purpose of this mini-thesis was to study the prevalence of


camel brucellosis in Sheikh District and specifically, to identify the
prevalence of camel brucellosis in Sheikh District, to find out the major
clinical signs of camel brucellosis and to determine possible
intervention measures for controlling the disease.

MATERIALS AND METHODS


The study was conducted during the months of June and July 2009 in
Sheikh District, Sahel region, Somaliland.
Map of the Study area

Sheikh

Sheikh

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The 3 weeks of the study involved 12 herds of different sizes and a


total of 80 camel heads. They were of different health status, sex, age
and location in Sheikh District. The number of camel heads per herd
ranged between 5-10 heads. Camel herds were regularly examined
and random blood samples were collected during the period from June
to July 2009. The visited areas included: Laalays three herds (20
camels), Suqsade two herds (8 camels), sheikh one herd (6 camels),
Galoolay four herds (30 camels) and Kalasharka two herds (16). 31
camel herders were interviewed asking whether disease was present
or absent. Information on location, herd size, sex, age, history of
abortion, camel health and major clinical signs were obtained. The
genital organs were subjected to careful clinical examination by visual
observation and palpation.
Sampling and Sample processing:
In this study blood samples were randomly collected from 80 camels
of both sexes ranging in age from 6 months to 12 years. About 5 Ml of
blood was collected from the jugular vein of each selected animal,
using a syringe and vacutainer without anti coagulant and these blood
samples were allowed to clot overnight at room temperature.
The serum samples were separated manually and stored in the
refrigerator until testing. All sera were screened for antibodies against
Brucella by the Rose Bengal plate-agglutination test (RBPT) in STVS
lab and the positive serum samples were recorded. According to the
manufacturer, the sensitivity and specificity of RBPT are 89 and 97%,
respectively. The true prevalence of camel Brucellosis was estimated
by adjusting the apparent prevalence to the sensitivity and specificity
of the Rose Bengal Test using the formula of the true prevalence.

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RESULTS
In the locations that formed the study area, the largest numbers of
blood samples were collected from Galoolay, while the least numbers
of samples were collected from Sheikh town.
Collection of blood sample from a camel is very difficult compared to
other ruminants, because when collecting the sample, you need two to
three persons for restraining. In some places you can not find these
restrainers because the gender who is keeping the camels is a female,
since men go to the towns, though in Somali culture women are not
normally involved in couching and restraining camels. They are usually
involved with other ruminants such as sheep and goats.

Camel herders don’t pasteurize camel milk, because they believe if


they do so to camel milk, it will be useless and the quality of the milk
will be lowered.

Table1. Data collection of camel herders through interview


No. of people Presence Absence Unknown
interviewed

31 10 (32%) 6 (19%) 15 (49%)

Figure 1. The percentage of camel herders’ response.

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10, 32%

Presence
15, 49%
absence
Unkowon

6, 19%

31 elder farmers from different villages were interviewed about the


presence of camel brucellosis in the area, and if it was present the
major clinical signs they observe (Table 1).
The elders interviewed 10 (32%) told the researcher that they know
the disease, and the animals which suffer from the disease are those
rejected for export.

Camel owners also mentioned some clinical manifestations they


observe when the camels are infected with the disease, the clinical
signs included; loss of body condition, swollen of superficial lymph
nodes, protrusion at the vaginal area in female camel, infertility which
they called in their local language “Galgaal“. The owners who are
aware of the existence of the disease use a traditional remedy, by
inserting a piece of salt into the burst lymph node, that makes it shrink
and ultimately heal. The female camel vaginal protrusion brings about
excitement; it behaves like a male so that it has a tendency to mount
with other females in the presence of the male.

Table 2: Results of serological diagnosis of brucellosis by RBTP

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Location No. of herd Male Female No. of Percentage %


sampled positive
Lalays 20 8 12 0 0

Suqsade 8 3 5 0 0

Sheikh 6 4 2 0 0

Galoolay 30 8 22 1 3.3

Kalasharka 16 7 9 1 6.3

Total 80 30 50 2 9.6

Out of the 80 camels whose sera were tested, 2 were positive by Rose
Bengal Test (RBT). The prevalence of camel brucellosis in Sheikh
District was (2.5%) Therefore, the true prevalence of camel brucellosis
in Sheikh District as adjusted to the RBT sensitivity and specificity is
2.87%. Results of serological diagnosis of brucellosis in camels at
different locations are summarized in (Table 2).

Discussion

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Although Brucella organisms were not isolated in this study because of


inadequate facilities, and time constraint, but based on the results of
serological test of RBT, the prevalence of Brucella in examined herds,
which were 80 camels, was found to be 2.5%. This result is lower than
that recorded by Yasser M. Ghanem et al; 2008 in Somaliland.
However, higher prevalence was also recorded in Egypt (Radwan et al.
1995; El-Boshy et al. 2009), Saudi Arabia (Radwan et al. 2006), and
Sudan (Yagoub et al. 1990).

Zoonotic diseases continue to present an important health hazard in


most parts of the world, particularly in developing countries. Infection
may develop in people who are frequently in contact with camel herds,
or who drink raw camel milk and its products, due to Lack of
knowledge of the disease transmission and it zoonotic nature, un
palatability of pasteurization camel milk among nomadic people, lack
of adequate sheep and goats Brucella control program, including
vaccination. This is what contributed to the presence of camel
brucellosis in the country. Unfortunately community of Sheikh District
does not pasteurize camel milk; and this may bring about the spread
of the disease.

The locality of camel rearing showed significant association with the


prevalence of Brucella infection. Kalashar village recorded the highest
prevalence (1 camel in 2 herds). This result was in agreement with
that recorded by Yasear M. G; 2008. The Kalashar village is situated at
the border of Sahel with Togdheer region; therefore, the uncontrollable
movement and contact with the infected animals may explain such
findings.

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Yasear et al; 2008 attributed the effect of locality on Brucella infection


to husbandry, management practice, absence of Vet. Services, lack of
awareness, and uncontrolled movement of pastoralists from place to
another. This finding was also supported by Radostits et al; 2007 who
stated that the movement may worsen the epizootic situation of
Brucellosis in any locality, because the spread of infection is almost
always due to movement of infected animal to susceptible camel herd.
This justifies why the disease is prevalent in the southern villages in
Sheikh Districts.

Camels are not known to be primary hosts for any of Brucella


organisms, but they are susceptible to both Brucella melitensis and
Brucella abortus. Infection rate in camels depends upon the infection
rate in primary hosts animals in contact with them (Agab et al. 1994).
This may further suggest the role of small ruminants in the occurrence
of camel brucellosis.
Prevention and control of animal brucellosis depends on the
establishment of an efficient national surveillance program and the
presence of an active reporting system (Anon, 1993).
Pastoralists in Sheikh District, just like other parts of Somaliland, have
difficulties in preventing and controlling diseases such as brucellosis on
their livestock. Since pastoralists are nomads, animals from different
owners with different species (sheep goats and camels) mix when
grazing, and watering. That makes it hard to control the disease.
There are some facts that must be taken into consideration while
trying to control this disease:
Brucellosis in camels seems to display less clinical sings than in other
ruminant animals, so the disease should be controlled by vaccination
in camels and primary hosts (sheep and goats)·

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Due to the uncontrolled movements of different animals (camels,


sheep and goats) through the borders between Somaliland and
surrounding countries, it is recommended to vaccinate the animals in
Somaliland at regular intervals especially along the borders of the
country.
Adequate Brucella control programs in small ruminants may contribute
to the reduction in the prevalence of this disease in camels.

Conclusion and recommendation


31 elder farmers from different villages were interviewed about the
presence of camel brucellosis in the area, the elders interviewed 10
(32%) told the researcher that they know the disease, and the animals
which suffer from the disease are those rejected for export. Camel
herders don’t pasteurize camel milk, because they believe if they do so
to camel milk, it will be useless and the quality of the milk will be
lowered. the clinical signs that owners mentioned included; loss of
body condition, swollen of superficial lymph nodes, protrusion at the
vaginal area in female camel, infertility which they called in their local
language “Galgaal“.
Out of the 80 camels whose sera were tested, 2 were positive by Rose
Bengal Test (RBT). The prevalence of camel brucellosis in Sheikh
District was (2.5%).
The results of the present investigation indicate that it is similar to the
other African countries, Brucella spp. exists within camel herds. This is
the first report that describes the prevalence of camel brucellosis in
Sheikh District. Therefore, frequent screening of the camel herds is
recommended to assess the status of the disease and to identify the
Brucella biotypes involved. Moreover, epidemiological studies need to

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be done to explore the current status of the disease in other ruminants


and other animals to enable the public veterinary authorities to
construct concrete program for prevention of the disease within animal
herds in Sheikh and whole Somaliland or transmission of the disease
via animal trading to the other countries.

Reference:

1. Mustafa, M. and P. Nicoletti, 1993. Proceeding of the Workshop on Guidelines for


a Regional Brucellosis Control Program for the Middle East.
2. FAO/WHO, 1986. Expert committee on brucellosis, Sixth Report. WHO Technical
Report series, No. 740. WHO, Geneva.

3. Abbas, B., Agab, H., 2002. A review of camel brucellosis. Preventive Veterinary
Medicine, 55, 47–56. doi:10.1016/ S0167-5877(02)00055-7

4. Agab, H., Abbas, B., El-Jakack, H., Mamon, I. E., 1994. Firist report on the
isolation of Brucella abortus biovar 3 from camel (camelus dromedaries) in Sudan.
Revue d Elevage et de Medicine veterinaire des Pays Tropicaux, 47, 361– 363.

5. Baumann, M.p.O., Nuux, H.A., Zessin, K.H., 1990. Livestock disease survey central
rangeland of Somalia. Technical Report. Vol. III. Herd demographic and disease
survey data from herds of camels. CRDP-Veterinary Component, Mogadishu, Somalia
6. Geering, W. A., Forman, J. A., Nunn, M. J., 1995. Exotic Diseases of Animals.
Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, Australia, pp 301–306.

7. Musa, M. T., Shigidi, T. A., 2001. Brucellosis in camels in intensive Animal breeding
areas of Sudan. Implication in abortion and early-life infections. Revue d Elevage et
de Medicine veterinaire des Pays Tropicaux, 54, 11–15.

8. Radwan, A. I., Bekairi, S. I., Mukayel, A. A., Al-Bokmy, A. M., Prasad, P. V. S., Azar,
F. N., Coloyan, E. R., 1995. Control of Brucella melitensis infection in a large camel
herd in Saudi Arabia using antibiotherapy and vaccination with Rev. 1 vaccine. Revue
Scientifique et technique, 14, 719–732

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9. Refai, M., 2002. Incidence and control of brucellosis in the Near East region.
Veterinary Microbiology, 90, 81–110. doi:10.1016/S0378-1135(02)00248-1

10. Yasser M. Ghanem et al; 2008


11. Agab, H., B. Abbas, H. El-Jakack and I.E. Mamon, 1994. Firist report on the
isolation of Brucella abortus biovar 3 from camel (camelus dromedaries) in Sudan.
Revue. Elev. Med. Vet. Pays. Trop., 47: 361- 363.
12. Anon, 1993. WHO Report of the MZCP Training Course on the Establishment of a
Human and Animal Brucellosis National Surveillance System, Heraklion, Greece.

13. Radostits, O.M., Gay, C.C., Hinchcliff, K.W., Constable, P.D., 2007. Brucellosis
caused by Brucella abortus. In: Veterinary Medicine. 10th edn., Elsevier Saunders,
London, UK.

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