Longitudinal study of selected bacterial zoonoses in small ruminants in Tana River County, Kenya


Brucellosis, Q fever, and leptospirosis are priority zoonoses worldwide, yet their epidemiology is understudied, and studies investigating multiple pathogens are scarce. Therefore, we selected 316 small ruminants in irrigated, pastoral, and riverine settings in Tana River County and conducted repeated sampling for animals that were initially seronegative between September 2014 and June 2015. We carried out serological and polymerase chain reaction tests and determined risk factors for exposure. The survey-weighted serological incidence rates were 1.8 (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 1.3–2.5) and 1.3 (95% CI: 0.7–2.3) cases per 100 animal-months at risk for Leptospira spp. and C. burnetii, respectively. We observed no seroconversions for Brucella spp. Animals from the irrigated setting had 6.83 (95% CI: 2.58–18.06, p-value = 0.01) higher odds of seropositivity to C. burnetii than those from riverine settings. Considerable co-exposure of animals to more than one zoonosis was also observed, with animals exposed to one zoonosis generally having 2.5 times higher odds of exposure to a second zoonosis. The higher incidence of C. burnetii and Leptospira spp. infections, which are understudied zoonoses in Kenya compared to Brucella spp., demonstrate the need for systematic prioritization of animal diseases to enable the appropriate allocation of resources.


Wainaina, M., Lindahl, J.F., Dohoo, I., Mayer-Scholl, A., Roesel, K., Mbotha, D., Roesler, U., Grace, D., Bett, B. and Al Dahouk, S. 2022. Longitudinal study of selected bacterial zoonoses in small ruminants in Tana River County, Kenya. Microorganisms 10(8): 1546.


  • Wainaina, Martin
  • Lindahl, Johanna F.
  • Dohoo, I.
  • Mayer-Scholl, A.
  • Roesel, Kristina
  • Mbotha, Deborah
  • Roesler, U.
  • Grace, Delia
  • Bett, Bernard K.
  • Al Dahouk, S.