Seroprevalence of Leptospirosis in Cattle in Smallholder Livestock Production Systems in Bungoma County, Kenya




Cattle, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), Leptospirosis, Sero-Prevalence, Zoonosis


Leptospirosis is an important re-emerging bacterial zoonosis of public health importance in Kenya. It is transmitted through contact with contaminated soil, water, or urine of infected animals. The disease is associated with high economic losses which include high cost of diagnosis and treatment, disruption of international trade in animals and animal products and loss of milk production following mastitis among others. In this study, the sero-prevalence of bovine leptospirosis in Kimilili and Mt Elgon Sub-Counties of Bungoma County in Kenya was estimated. A cross-sectional study was conducted between April to July, 2017 where blood serum samples from 200 head of cattle from five wards and one slaughter house using systematic random sampling technique. The samples were then subjected to the Enzyme Linked Immunorsorbent Assay (ELISA) test. The findings show an overall sero-prevalence for leptospirosis in cattle in the study area to be 16%. The sero-prevalence of leptospirosis in the study area by wards is as follows; 10.7% in Kibingei, 12.5% in Kimilili, 17.6 in Maeni, 16.7% in Kamukuywa and 15.6% in Kaptama. The study also reveals that the sero-prevalence was relatively higher in Kimilili Slaughterhouse which recorded 21.0%.  The study therefore demonstrates that there is a high sero-prevalence of leptospirosis in cattle in Kimilili and Mt Elgon Sub-Counties, Bungoma County. This study therefore provides critical public health information which is necessary in guiding leptospirosis prevention and control in Bungoma County. It is therefore recommended that strategies for surveillance and laboratory diagnosis of leptospirosis should be initiated in Bungoma County. This will help in providing better estimates of leptospirosis burden in the county.


Alan R. K, Arlene E.B, Kialani H, Sarah Y. P., & Effler, P. V. (2011). Leptospirosis in Hawaii, USA, 1999-2008. Emerging Infectious Disease Journal, 17(2):221-226. DOI:

Allan K.J., Biggs H.M., Halliday J.E.B., Kazwala R.R., Maro V.P., & Cleaveland S. (2015). Epidemiology of Leptospirosis in Africa: A systemic Review of a Neglected Zoonosis and a Paradigm shift for 'One Health' in Africa. PLoS Negl Trop Dis., 14, (9), e0003899. DOI:

Anon. (2018). Leptospirosis Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from

Boqvist, S., Chau, B., Gunnarsson, A., Engvall, E. O., Vågsholm, I., & Magnusson, U. (2002). Animal- and herd-level risk factors for leptospiral seropositivity among sows in the Mekong delta, Vietnam. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 53(3), 233-245. DOI:

Bungoma County Government. (2012). CIDP 2013-2017. Bungoma County Government.

Burdin M.L., & Froyd G. (1957). Bovine Leptospirosis in Kenya. Nature 179, 1140. DOI:

CDC. (1995). Outbreak of acute febrile illness and pulmonary hemorrhage in Nicaragua. J.A.M.A.274 (21), 1668. DOI:

CDVS. (2016). Annual Report 2016. County Director of Veterinary Services.

Cook, E. A., de Glanville, W. A., Thomas, L. F., Kariuki, S., Bronsvoort, B. M., & Fèvre, E. M. (2017). Risk factors for leptospirosis seropositivity in slaughterhouse workers in western Kenya. Occupational and environmental medicine, 74(5), 357-365. DOI:

Esteves, L.M., Bulhões, S.M., Branco, C.C. et al. Diagnosis of Human Leptospirosis in a Clinical Setting: Real-Time PCR High Resolution Melting Analysis for Detection of Leptospira at the Onset of Disease. Sci Rep 8, 9213 (2018). DOI:

Forrester A.T., Kranendonk O, Turner L.H, Wolff J.W., &Bohlander H.J. (1969). Serological evidence of human Leptospirosis in Kenya. East Afr. Med. J., 46(9), 497-506.

GoK. (2018). National Disaster Risk management Policy. Nairobi: Government Printer.

Lau CL, Smythe LD, Craig SB, Weinstein P. (2010). Climate change, flooding, urbanization and Leptospirosis: fuelling the fire? Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg., 104, 631-8. DOI:

Lee, H. S., Khong, N. V., Xuan, H. N., Nghia, V. B., Nguyen-Viet, H., & Grace, D. (2017). Sero-prevalence of specific Leptospira serovars in fattening pigs from 5 provinces in Vietnam. BMC veterinary research, 13(1), 125. DOI:

Macharia, S. M. (1989). A comparative sero-epidemiological survey for the prevalence of Leptospira antibodies in domestic animals and man in Nyandarua and Turkana districts of Kenya (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nairobi). Retrieved from

Mythri B.A (2015). Laboratory diagnosis of leptospirosis: A Review. Journal of Evolution of Medical and dental sciences, 4(50), 8759-8769. DOI:

Nakeel, M.J, Arimi S.M., Kitala P.K., Nduhiu G., Njenga J.M., & Wabacha J.K. (2016). A sero-epidemiological Survey of Brucellosis, Q-Fever and Leptospirosis in livestock and humans and associated risk factors in Kajiado County-Kenya. Journal of Tropical Diseases and Public Health, 4(3), 215. DOI:

Pejvak K., (2016).Clinical laboratory diagnosis of Human Leptospirosis. Int J Enteric Pathog, 4(1), e31859. DOI:

Plank, R., & Dean, D. (2000). Overview of the epidemiology, microbiology and pathogenesis of Leptospirosis species in humans. Microbes Infect., 2, 1265-76. DOI:

Ricaldi, J.N., & Vinetz, J.M. (2006). Leptospirosis in the tropics and in travelers. Curr Infect Dis Rep., 8, 51-8. DOI:

Simegnew, A. (2016). A Review of Bovine Leptospirosis. European Journal of Applied Sciences, 8(6), 347-355.

Thursfield, M. (2005). Veterinary Epidemiology (3rd Ed.) Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Veterinary Investigation Laboratory (VIL) Eldoret. (2007). Annual Report.

VIL. (2007). Eldoret Annual Report 2007. Veterinary Investigation Laboratory.

WHO. (2004). Leptospirosis in Kenya. World Health Organization.

WHO/CDS. (1999). WHO Recommended Surveillance Standards and Response (2nd Ed.). WHO/CDS.




How to Cite

Nanyende, D. W., Wakhungu, J. W., Makhanu, F. N., & Namasaka, S. D. (2024). Seroprevalence of Leptospirosis in Cattle in Smallholder Livestock Production Systems in Bungoma County, Kenya. African Journal of Empirical Research, 5(1), 74–83.