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Mycobacterium tuberculosis exposure of livestock in a German dairy farm: implications for intra vitam diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis in an officially tuberculosis-free country

  • T. EISENBERG (a1), A. NESSELER (a1), C. SAUERWALD (a1), U. KLING (a1), K. RIßE (a1), U. KAIM (a1), G. ALTHOFF (a1), N. FIEGE (a1), K. SCHLEZ (a1), H.-P. HAMANN (a1), A. FAWZY (a1) (a2), I. MOSER (a3), R. RIßE (a4), G. KRAFT (a4), M. ZSCHÖCK (a1) and C. MENGE (a3)...

Summary

Germany has been an officially bovine tuberculosis (bTB)-free (OTF) country since 1996. Gradually rising numbers of bTB herd incidents due to Mycobacterium bovis and M. caprae in North-Western and Southern Germany during the last few years prompted the competent authorities to conduct a nationwide bTB survey in 2013/2014. This led to the detection of a dairy herd in which as many as 55 cattle reacted positively to consecutive intra vitam testing. Test-positive animals lacked visible lesions indicative of bTB at necropsy. Extensive mycobacterial culturing as well as molecular testing of samples from 11 tissues for members of the M. tuberculosis complex (MTC) yielded negative results throughout. However, caseous lymphadenitis of Ln. mandibularis accessorius was observed during meat inspection of a fattening pig from the same farm at regular slaughter at that time. Respective tissue samples tested MTC positive by polymerase chain reaction, and M. tuberculosis T1 family were identified by spoligotyping. Four human reactors within the farmer's family were also found to be immunoreactive. As exposure of livestock to M. tuberculosis is not generally considered, its impact may result in regulatory and practical difficulties when using protocols designed to detect classical bTB, particularly in OTF countries.

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Corresponding author

* Author for correspondence: Dr T. Eisenberg, Hessisches Landeslabor, Abteilung Veterinärmedizin, Schubertstr. 60/Haus 13, 35392 Gießen, Germany. (Email: tobias.eisenberg@lhl.hessen.de)

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