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July 13 2005

Bovine TB in pigs See BBC report

ProMed mail moderator said,

[_Mycobacterium bovis_ has been identified in humans in most countries where isolates of mycobacteria from human patients have been fully typed. The incidence of pulmonary TB caused by _M. bovis_ is higher in farm and slaughterhouse workers than in urban inhabitants. One of the results of bovine TB eradication programs has been a reduction in disease and death from TB among the human population. Pasteurization of milk and improved sanitation have also been of great importance.

Cattle are considered to be the true hosts of _M. bovis_, but the disease has been reported in several other species of domestic and wild animals. Isolations have been made from buffalo, bison, sheep, goats, equines, camels, pigs, deer, antelopes, dogs, cats, foxes, mink, badgers, ferrets, rats, primates, llamas, kudus, elands, tapirs, elks, elephants, sitatungas [wild bovines], oryxes, addaxes [these last 2 are antelopes], rhinoceroses, possums, ground squirrels, otters, seals, hares, moles, raccoons, coyotes, and several predatory felines including lions, tigers, leopards, and lynx. (see moderator's commentary in 20021208.6015).

Contrary to views expressed by some interviewees, the spillover of bovine TB from the highly infected, dense badger population in Cornwall to other species, wild and domestic porcines included, should not be surprising. Though laboratory confirmation on the species identity of the mycobacterium isolated from the affected pigs (lymphnodes?) should be awaited, it may be assumed that it is _M. bovis_. If the current situation continues, it might be only a matter of time before humans are infected. - Mod.AS]