How to manage brucellosis in farm animals

An effective approach should be adopted to eradicate and prevent brucellosis in cattle. Diagnosing and prevention are the rules often recommended by experts

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Brucellosis also known as Contagious abortion, Enzootic abortion, Epizootic abortion, Malta fever, Undulant fever or Bang’s disease refers to a bacterial infection. Brucellosis is one of the most important zoonoses in the tropics, meaning that there is a strong correlation between humans and animals. In 1950s, Brucellosis was first confirmed in Malaysia when B. abortus was first isolated from large ruminants (Asinamai et al., 2018).

Recognition of brucellosis through clinical evidence.

There are no pathognomonic signs of brucellosis in animals at individual level; the occurrence of abortion storms in naive herds/flocks is usually a strong indicator of infection. However, the disease is associated with decreased milk production, weight loss, loss of young, retained placenta, infertility and lameness, with the most obvious signs in pregnant animals being abortion (between the 5 th and 7 th month of pregnancy) or birth of weak calves.

Efficacy of the vaccination.

Brucellosis is hard to treat but there are prevention and control methods that can be applied such is vaccination. Vaccinating animals usually results in the elimination of clinical disease and the reduction in numbers of organisms excreted by animals which become infected. The RB51 vaccine is used to prevent brucellosis by producing an immune response that increases the animal’s resistance to brucellosis. The vaccine should be administered to calves at the age of 4 months. According to Zamri-Saad and Kamarudin (2016) vaccination helped to reduce shedding of the organism in the environment and was mostly practiced in areas where the disease was endemic.

The control and prevention measures of brucellosis.

When dealing with infected animals, it is important to wear protective attire such as gloves, masks and goggles. Mixing of animals from different herds or flocks belonging to different owners especially at the markets contributes significantly to the transmission of the disease. The consumption of raw dairy products and meat should be avoided. When you purchase/bring in new cattle on the farm, it is important to isolate the replacements for at least 30 days. In addition a serological test prior to commingling is necessary.

“The most radical method to eradicate brucellosis is by culling the infected animals.”

Report such cases to the nextest veterinarian.

Brucellosis is a major economic and health problem in many countries across the world, because it is associated with many reproductive failures. However, to ensure that such diseases are avoided on the farm the right measures should be adhered to, namely the use of proper sanitation and herd management.


Asinamai, A. B. Yusuf, A., Jesse, F. F. A. Azlan, C-A. Mazlina, M. Peter, I. D. Idris, U. H. Abd, W. H. and Mohd, A. M. L. (2018). Management of An Outbreak of Brucellosis in A Multiple Species Ruminant Farm in Malaysia. Tropical Agricultural Sciences. 41, (4). Zamri-Saad, M., & Kamarudin, M. I. (2016). Control of animal brucellosis: The Malaysian experience. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, 9(12), 1136-1140. Coste R., Smith A. J., 1994. The Tropical Agriculturalist: Animal Health. Seifert H. S. H., 1992. Tropical Animal Health. Veterinary tropical medicine. 2 nd edition.Discover the Suite of Apps for Livestock Management The most complete set of tools to improve productivity

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