A cross-sectional study was conducted in Tellalak district of Afar region to determine the sero-prevalence of small ruminant brucellosis and its association with major reproductive health problems. Serum samples (272 from goats and 142 from sheep) were collected from three randomly selected peasant associations along with a questionnaire survey. Animals above six months of age with no history of previous vaccination for brucellosis were randomly selected. Modified Rose Bengal Plate Test (mRBT) was used as a screening test while Complement Fixation Test (CFT) was used to confirm reactors. Overall sero-prevalence of 13.7% was observed in both goats and sheep. The prevalence in goats was much higher (15.4%) than in sheep (10.6%). The prevalence among females with a history of retained fetal membrane was significantly higher (P<0.001) than those without. Age, sex and flock size were not associated with the sero-prevalence of brucellosis. However, the presence of pregnancy was a known risk factor in both goats and sheep. Sero-positive animals were likely to abort (OR=5.1) or give rise to a weak offspring (OR=9.4). This study showed brucellosis to be widespread in the study area with a much higher potential for further spread to other sites as well as be a public health risk.
Key words: Brucellosis, reproductive problem, small ruminants, Tellalak, Afar region.
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