One of this project objectives is to obtain estimates of the prevalence of brucellosis in peri-urban dairy
systems in West and Central Africa. These estimates are needed to design control programs that are
appropriate for the existing baseline level of infection. In partnership with diagnostic laboratories from
different countries, cross-sectional studies of dairy herds are conducted using an indirect ELISA for the
detection of antibodies in milk provided by the OIE Reference Laboratory for Brucellosis at the UK’s
Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). The high sensitivity of the assay allows identification of
infected unvaccinated herds by testing of bulk milk samples, making the milk ELISA a useful tool for
brucellosis surveillance in disease-free countries such as the UK or as part of baseline surveys to
generate initial prevalence estimates in areas where they are lacking, such as many West and Central
Africa dairy production zones.
This brief summarises lessons learned from the use of the indirect ELISA assay as part
of cross-sectional studies of brucellosis in dairy farms carried out across 10 dairy production zones of
7 West and Central African countries. It highlight the problems encountered and how to
avoid and overcome them in order to facilitate the adoption of this technique as a diagnostic tool in
other low and middle-income countries, where the facilities are not optimal.
This work arises from the Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS) programme.
Musallam I, McGiven J, Akakpo A (2017). Using ELISA for the detection of Brucella antibodies in milk.
Using ELISA for the detection of Brucella antibodies in milk - TECHNICAL BRIEF
Published 1 December 2017