Camel is reared for its milk and meat and is used for transportation by nomadic and rural populations in Africa and Asia including India. Brucellosis is an important zoonotic disease. In camels, this is caused by Brucella melitensis
and Brucella abortus
, which are pathogenic to man. Brucellosis can be readily transmitted from camels to humans by raw milk or its products. A large number of cases of human Brucellosis due to consumption of raw camel milk and meat have been reported from various countries worldwide. We had earlier found the seroprevalence of Brucellosis in camels in and around Bikaner. Therefore, we wanted to assess the public health significance of camel Brucellosis by testing humans in contact with camels.
Blood samples from 188 humans (109 males and 79 females) from Bikaner and nearby villages were analyzed by Rose Bengal Plate Test (RBPT). Out of 188 sera tested, 17 (4 females and 13 males) were positive by RBPT. However, none of the 26 humans samples (17 positive and 9 negative by RBPT) tested was Brucella positive by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This suggests that Brucellosis is prevalent in humans in this region in terms of antibody detection by serological methods. However, detection of DNA of Brucella organisms in blood by PCR may not be advised for regular screening for Brucellosis since there is intermittent bacteremia in Brucellosis and Brucella DNA may not be detectable continuously throughout the course of the disease. The OIE has approved RBPT, but not PCR for screening of Brucellosis.