Investigation of the seroprevalence of brucellosis, Q fever and CCHF in humans and livestock of Herat province, Afghanistan

Brucellosis, CCHF and Q fever are important zoonoses in Afghanistan that affect the health of individuals, families and communities, the productivity of livestock and the livelihoods of families. Currently, there is little information available about the prevalence and distribution of these diseases within Afghanistan.

The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of these three diseases in the people and livestock of rural Afghanistan, and to investigate the risk factors related to infection with brucellosis. Download preliminary results.

Study design

Households were recruited from ten randomly selected villages in secure districts of Herat province, five were nomadic or semi-nomadic (kuchi) villages and five were sedentary villages.

Blood samples have been collected from a total of 1,000 humans aged between 8–60 years, 1000 female cattle and 2000 sheep or goats of breeding age. Serological assays have been conducted using standardised protocols and internationally sourced reagents.

In addition, supplementary "KAP" surveys have been conducted to ascertain the participants' Knowledge, Attitude and Practices relating to brucellosis and how these attitudes may influence the prevalence of infections in animals and humans.

Intended outcomes

The outomes generated from this project are:

  • Data to inform the development of a national brucellosis control program.
  • Baseline data to enable evaluation of the efficacy of control program interventions.
  • A serum bank that can enable estimation of the prevalence of other endemic diseases of public health significance or economic importance.

Dissemination of knowledge

The results of this study will be used to make policy recommendations regarding the control of zoonotic diseases by staff at Afghanistan National Public Health Institute (ANPHI) in the Ministry of Public Health and General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAH&P) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.

It is anticipated that the public health data generated may assist the ANPHI to advocate for the inclusion of these diseases in the Basic and Essential Packages of Hospital Services that constitute a key element in the development of the Afghan health system.

Likewise, the animal health data may enable GDAH&P to advocate for developing the national control programme for brucellosis and, potentially, for developing control programmes for Q fever and CCHF.

A major benefit arising from this project is the development of closer cooperation between these two key Ministries at both the central and the provincial levels.