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Brucellosis; ELISA; Infection; RBT; Risk Factors; Seroprevalence; Children
Brucellosis is among the most common bacterial zoonotic diseases worldwide. It is estimated that up to 500,000 new human cases occur each year. Brucellosis is a priority zoonosis in most East African countries. In Tanzania, the disease is one of six priority zoonoses, however, little disease burden information is available especially in children. Children are of particular interest especially in pastoral communities due to increased risk of exposure in their routine activities associated with handling of livestock and their products. This study investigated brucellosis exposure status and associated risk factors among non-febrile children in pastoral communities. A cross-sectional design was used involving a total of 361 non-febrile children of six months to 14 years old, randomly selected from households and schools. Risk practices were evaluated using focus group discussions among selected children and thematic analysis was performed. Serum samples were collected and analyzed using Rose Bengal Test (RBT) and indirect Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (iELISA) in parallel. The overall seroprevalence of Brucella infection was 3.3% (95%CI, 2%-5%) determined by both RBT and iELISA. Risk practices observed and cited by children comprised of direct and indirect contact with animals and their products. These include: consumption of raw milk and their products, unhygienic handling of animals and their waste especially assisting cows during parturition. Girls/female respondents were more likely to test brucella positive than boys (male) respondents (2.23 OR, 95%CI 66%-754%). Brucellosis among non-febrile children in the study area was present at a relatively low prevalence. Risk practices for transmission of this zoonosis were also identified which included consumption of raw milk, contact with animals, their products and discharges including abortion materials which represent the basis for increased pathogen circulation in the area. General education on the epidemiology of brucellosis and prevention of infection spread should be provided to the community including children.