Seroprevalence and risk factors of Brucella infection in dairy animals in urban and rural areas of Bihar and Assam, India

This study assessed seropositivity of Brucella infection in dairy animals and risk factors associated with it. The cross-sectional study used multi-stage, random sampling in the states of Bihar and Assam in India. In total, 740 dairy animals belonging to 534 households of 52 villages were covered under this study. Serological testing was conducted by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA). Animal-level Brucella seropositivity was found to be 15.9% in Assam and 0.3% in Bihar. Seropositivity in urban areas (18.7%) of Assam was found to be higher than in rural areas (12.4%). Bihar was excluded from the risk factor analysis, as only one Brucella seropositive sample was detected in the state. A total of 30 variables were studied for assessing risk factors, of which 15 were selected for multivariable regression analyses following a systematic process. Finally, only three risk factors were identified as statistically significant. It was found that animals belonging to districts having smaller-sized herds were less likely (p < 0.001) to be Brucella seropositive than animals belonging to districts having larger-sized herds. Furthermore, the chance of being Brucella seropositive increased (p = 0.007) with the increase in age of dairy animals, but decreased (p = 0.072) with the adoption of artificial insemination (AI) for breeding. We speculated that the identified risk factors in Assam likely explained the reason behind lower Brucella seropositivity in Bihar, and therefore any future brucellosis control program should focus on addressing these risk factors.