Detection and characterization of Brucella spp. in bovine milk in small-scale urban and peri-urban farming in Tajikistan
AuthorLindahl-Rajala, Elisabeth; Hoffman, Tove; Fretin, David; Godfroid, Jacques; Sattorov, Nosirjon; Boqvist, Sofia; Lundkvist, Åke; Magnusson, Ulf
Brucellosis is one of the most common zoonoses globally, and Central Asia remains a Brucella hotspot. The World Health Organization classifies brucellosis as a neglected zoonotic disease that is rarely in the spotlight for research and mainly affects poor, marginalized people. Urban and peri-urban farming is a common practice in many low-income countries, and it increases the incomes of families that are often restrained by limited economic resources. However, there is a concern that the growing number of people and livestock living close together in these areas will increase the transmission of zoonotic pathogens such as Brucella. This study investigates the presence of Brucella DNA in bovine milk in the urban and peri-urban area of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Brucella DNA was detected in 10.3% of 564 cow milk samples by IS711-based real-time PCR. This finding is concerning because consumption of unpasteurized dairy products is common in the region. Furthermore, Brucella DNA was detected in the milk of all seropositive cows, but 8.3% of the seronegative cows also showed the presence of Brucella DNA. In addition, sequence analysis of the rpoB gene suggests that one cow was infected with B. abortus and another cow was most likely infected with B. melitensis. The discrepancies between the serology and real-time PCR results highlight the need to further investigate whether there is a need for implementing complementary diagnostic strategies to detect false serological negative individuals in Brucella surveillance, control, and eradication programmes. Furthermore, vaccination of cattle with S19 in addition to vaccination of small ruminants with Rev 1 might be needed in order to control Brucella infections in the livestock population but further research focusing on the isolation of Brucella is required to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Brucella spp. circulating among the livestock in this region.