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Seroprevalence and risk factors for Q-fever (Coxiella burnetii) exposure in smallholder dairy cattle in Tanzania

Festo Bwatota, Shedrack; Mkilema Shirima, Gabriel; Hernandez-Castro, Luis E.; Mark de Clare Bronsvoort, Barend; Wheelhouse, Nick; Joseph Mengele, Isaac; Kiyabo Motto, Shabani; Mushumbusi Komwihangilo, Daniel; Lyatuu, Eliamoni; Cook, Elizabeth Anne Jessie


Shedrack Festo Bwatota

Gabriel Mkilema Shirima

Luis E. Hernandez-Castro

Barend Mark de Clare Bronsvoort

Isaac Joseph Mengele

Shabani Kiyabo Motto

Daniel Mushumbusi Komwihangilo

Eliamoni Lyatuu

Elizabeth Anne Jessie Cook


Q fever is a zoonotic disease, resulting from infection with Coxiella burnetii. Infection in cattle can cause abortion and infertility, however, there is little epidemiological information regarding the disease in dairy cattle in Tanzania. Between July 2019 and October 2020, a serosurvey was conducted in six high dairy producing regions of Tanzania. Cattle sera were tested for antibodies to C. burnetii using an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A mixed effect logistic regression model identified risk factors associated with C. burnetii seropositivity. A total of 79 out of 2049 dairy cattle tested positive with an overall seroprevalence of 3.9% (95% CI 3.06–4.78) across the six regions with the highest seroprevalence in Tanga region (8.21%, 95% CI 6.0–10.89). Risk factors associated with seropositivity included: extensive feeding management (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.25–3.77), and low precipitation below 1000 mm (OR 2.76, 95% 1.37–7.21). The disease seroprevalence is relatively low in the high dairy cattle producing regions of Tanzania. Due to the zoonotic potential of the disease, future efforts should employ a “One Health” approach to understand the epidemiology, and for interdisciplinary control to reduce the impacts on animal and human health.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 23, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 28, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Dec 6, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 6, 2022
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 12
Article Number 662
Keywords Q fever; coxiellosis; Coxiella burnetii; seroprevalence; dairy cattle; Tanzania
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