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The Prevalence of Brucella spp. in camel milk marketed from North Eastern Province, Kenya
Wanjohi M., Gitao C.G. and Bebora L.
Department of Veterinary Pathology and Microbiology, University of Nairobi, Kenya

The camel is the dominant livestock in North Eastern province where it provides sustenance to many people especially during the frequent dry periods when other animals die or are unthrifty. Garissa and Wajir districts in the arid Northern Kenya hosts about 54% of the national camel herd estimated to number over 3 million.  Camel milk from North Eastern Province in Kenya is widely marketed in those areas but is also currently being sold in distant markets in Nairobi and other places. An expanded camel milk market provides an opportunity for increased income that can lead to improved pastoral livelihoods. Most of the milk is collected from individual pastoralists, bulked and then taken by transporters to urban areas. While some milk is boiled before sale, some of the milk however is marketed as raw thus exposing the population to zoonotic diseases. In an investigation to find the prevalence of Brucellosis, the main zoonotic agent in milk, samples of milk for marketing were collected as well as serum samples from camels in North Eastern Province A total of three hundred and eighty four (384) camel milk samples from Garrissa and Wajir Districts were tested using the Milk Ring Test (MRT) and out of the total, fifty nine (59) samples (15.36%) tested positive while three hundred and twenty five (325) samples tested negative. From Garrissa District (n = 230), 35 samples (15.22%) were positive for MRT while 24 samples (15.58%) from Wajir District (n = 154) were positive. All the milk samples examined were negative for Brucella Modified Ziehl- Neelsen’s stain as well as primary isolation of Brucella on Tryptose Soy agar (TSA) under high carbon-dioxide (CO2) concentration. The results of the milk ring test on the samples tested indicated that 15.36% of the samples were positive for the presence of Brucella antibodies in milk. A total of two hundred (200) camel serum samples from Garrissa and Wajir Districts were tested using the Rose Bengal Plate Test (RBPT). Four (4) samples (2.0%) tested positive. From Garrissa District (n = 72), 2 samples (2.78%), were positive while 2 samples (1.56%) from Wajir District (n = 128) were positive. The two hundred (200) camel serum samples from Garrissa and Wajir Districts were also tested using the Serum Micro-agglutination Test (SAT). From Garrissa District (n = 72), 13 samples (18.06%) were positive while 8 samples (6.25%) from Wajir District (n = 128) were positive. The seroprevalence of brucellosis in camels is low in extensively kept pastoralist camels. Some of the recommendations to avoid the risk of zoonotic diseases include increased awareness on pasteurization of camel milk, proper milk handling and milk testing before pooling

Keywords: Camel milk; north eastern Kenya; brucellosis
To cite this article: Wanjohi M, Gitao CG, Bebora L, 2012. The prevalence of brucella spp in camel milk marketed from north eastern province. Res. Opin. Anim. Vet. Sci., 2(7), 425-434.

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