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Dairy farm demographics and management factors that played a role in the re-emergence of brucellosis on dairy cattle farms in Fiji

Tukana, Andrew, Gummow, B.
Tropical animal health and production 2017 v.49 no.6 pp. 1171-1178
Brucella, agglutination tests, biosecurity, bovine brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, cattle, dairy farming, demographic statistics, equipment, farmers, farming systems, human health, livestock and meat industry, public health, questionnaires, regression analysis, risk factors, surveys, Fiji
Little is published on risk factors associated with bovine brucellosis in Pacific island communities. The 2009 re-emergence of bovine brucellosis in Fiji enabled us to do an interview-based questionnaire survey of 81 farms in the Wainivesi locality of the Tailevu province on the main island of Fiji to investigate what risk factors could have played a role in the re-emergence of the disease. The survey was conducted on 68 farms that had no positive cases of bovine brucellosis and on 13 farms in the same area where cattle had returned a positive result to the Brucella Rose Bengal test. Descriptive statistical methods were used to describe the demographic data while univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between the selected risk factors and the presence of brucellosis on the farms at the time of the outbreak. The demographics of Fijian dairy farms are presented in the article and the biosecurity implications of those farming systems are discussed. Two risk factors were strongly associated with farms having brucellosis, and these were history of reactor cattle to brucellosis and or bovine tuberculosis on the farm (OR = 29, P ≤ 0.01) and farms that practised sharing of water sources for cattle within and with outside farms (OR = 39, P ≤ 0.01). Possible reasons why these were risk factors are also discussed. The potential risks for human health was also high as the use of personal protective equipment was low (15%). A high proportion of farmers (62%) could not recognise brucellosis thus contributing to the low frequency of disease reports (44%) made. The article also highlights other important risk factors which could be attributed to farming practices in the region and which could contribute to public health risks and the re-emergence of diseases.