Prevalence of bovine leukemia in 1983-2019 in China: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Microb Pathog. 2021 Jan;150:104681. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2020.104681. Epub 2020 Dec 6.


Bovine leukemia is a chronic, progressive, contagious tumor disease characterized by malignant lymphoid cell hyperplasia and systemic lymphadenopathy, and is caused by bovine leukemia virus (BLV). The disease affects almost all countries and regions where livestock are raised, and may even be a potential zoonotic disease. Monitoring and early prevention of bovine leukemia is very important. Therefore, we conducted this meta-analysis, the first of its type in the country, to estimate the prevalence of bovine leukemia in 1983-2019 in China. We included a total of 35 publications reported in 1983-2019 from the PubMed, ScienceDirect, Chinese Web of Knowledge (CNKI), VIP Chinese, and Wan Fang databases. In those articles, a total of 34,954 cattle had been tested, of which 4701 were positive for BLV infection. The estimated pooled BLV prevalence was 10.0% (4701/34,954). Subgroup analysis showed that there were significant differences for sampling years, detection methods, and age. BLV prevalence was highest in the following subgroups: sampled before 1985 (38.5%, 437/1134), age 3-5 years (22.5%, 231/1044), and detected by PCR (17.9%, 1228/5100). Regarding geographic factors, there were significant differences in the latitude and elevation subgroups. BLV prevalence was lowest in the subgroups of 20-30° latitude (3.3%, 255/5069) 200-1000 m altitude (2.2%, 560/11,990). We also analyzed other subgroups such as region, variety, breeding method, precipitation, humidity, and temperature, however, the differences were not significant. Our research indicated that the BLV was still prevalent in some of areas in China. We recommend strengthening the testing of cattle aged >1 year and using flexible testing methods such as PCR to control the prevalence of bovine leukemia and to prevent persistent infection.

Keywords: Bovine leukemia virus; Cattle; China; Meta-analysis; Prevalence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • China / epidemiology
  • Enzootic Bovine Leukosis* / epidemiology
  • Leukemia Virus, Bovine* / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence