Zoonotic diseases are an important cause of human morbidity and mortality. Animal populations at locations with high risk of transmission of zoonotic pathogens offer an opportunity to study viral and bacterial pathogens of veterinary and public health concern.
Blood samples were collected from domestic and imported livestock slaughtered at the Muneeb abattoir in central Egypt in 2009. Samples were collected from cattle (n = 161), buffalo (n = 153), sheep (n = 174), and camels (n = 10). Samples were tested for antibodies against Leptospira spp. by a microscopy agglutination test, Coxiella burnetii by enzyme immunoassay, Brucella spp. by standard tube agglutination, and Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV), Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), sandfly fever Sicilian virus (SFSV), and sandfly fever Naples virus (SFNV) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Antibodies against Leptospira spp. were identified in 64 (40%) cattle, 45 (29%) buffalo, 71 (41%) sheep, and five (50%) camels; antibodies against C. burnetii in six (4%) buffalo, 14 (8%) sheep, and seven (70%) camels; and antibodies against Brucella spp. in 12 (8%) cattle, one (1%) buffalo, seven (4%) sheep, and one (10%) camel. Antibodies against RVFV were detected in two (1%) cattle and five (3%) buffalo, and antibodies against CCHFV in one (1%) cow. No antibodies against SFSV or SFNV were detected in any species.
Results indicate that livestock have been exposed to a number of pathogens, although care must be taken with interpretation. It is not possible to determine whether antibodies against Leptospira spp. and RVFV in cattle and buffalo are due to prior vaccination or natural exposure. Similarly, antibodies identified in animals less than 6 months of age may be maternal antibodies transferred through colostrum rather than evidence of prior exposure. Results provide baseline evidence to indicate that surveillance within animal populations may be a useful tool to monitor the circulation of pathogens of veterinary and public health concern in Egypt.