Detection of Brucella spp. during a serosurvey of pig-hunting and regional pet dogs in eastern Australia

B. Orr, M. E. Westman, J. M. Norris, S. Repousis, G. Ma, R. Malik

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Abstract

Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease with worldwide distribution. Brucella suis serotype 1 is thought to be maintained in the Australian feral pig population, with disease prevalence higher in Queensland (Qld) than New South Wales (NSW). Pig hunting is a popular recreational activity in rural Qld and NSW, with feral pigs in these states thought to carry B. suis. Brucellosis associated with B. suis has been diagnosed in dogs engaged in pig hunting in some of these areas. A total of 431 dogs from northern Qld and north-west NSW were recruited. Two distinct cohorts of clinically healthy dogs were tested – (1) 96 dogs from central, north and far north Queensland actively engaged in pig-hunting and (2) 335 dogs from rural and remote north-west NSW that were primarily companion (non-pig hunting) animals. Serum samples were tested for antibodies to Brucella spp. using the Rose Bengal test (RBT) test followed by complement fixation testing (CFT) for RBT-positive samples. A subset of samples was retested using RBT and CFT. Seven dogs were considered seropositive for B. suis from Qld and remote NSW, including 4/96 (4.2%; 95% CI 3.5% to 4.3%) from the pig-hunting cohort and 3/335 (0.9%) from the regional pet dog cohort. The use of RBT and CFT in dogs to detect anti-Brucella antibodies requires validation. Veterinarians treating pig-hunting dogs and physicians treating pig hunters in central, north and far north Qld need to be aware of the zoonotic risk posed by B. suis to these groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-366
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Volume100
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

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