Researchers at Makerere University are keeping a watchful eye on a brucellosis threat after reported high prevalence among livestock- rearing communities in south-western Uganda.
This follows findings of a recent study titled: ‘Brucella sero-prevalence and modifiable risk factors among predisposed cattle keepers and consumers of unpasteurized milk in Mbarara and Kampala.’
The study involved one group of 161 individuals selected from households living on farms that had brucella sero-positive cattle or goats in Mbarara, and another of 168 attending voluntary HIV counseling and testing in Kampala.
Results showed that consumption of raw milk was significantly associated with brucella sero-positivity in both districts. Brucellosis is an infectious bacterial disease that affects mainly animals such as cows, sheep and goats and is spread to humans through consumption of unpasteurized (unboiled) milk and ghee.
“It is also spread to humans when they come into contact with infected meat or the placenta of infected animals. Many a time, the disease causes animals to abort and when farmers handle this aborted material, they may transfer the bacteria to their food, putting them at the risk of acquiring the disease,” said Prof George Nasinyama, one of the research authors during Makerere University’s international research and dissemination conference last week.
He added that symptoms of the disease in humans include joint pain, fatigue, persistent fever, weight loss, weakness and poor appetite. It is associated with complications such as swelling of the heart, liver and testicles, resulting into reduced functioning of these organs.
To avoid getting ill from these dangerous bacteria, Nasinyama aises that milk be boiled before consumption and good hygiene be maintained at milking centres. He also urged government to adopt a one-health approach that integrates human, animal and environmental health in curbing diseases such as brucellosis that manifest both in humans and animals.
Source : The Observer