Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) caused by Mycobacterium bovis or M. caprae has recently (re-) emerged in livestock and wildlife in all countries bordering Switzerland (CH) and the Principality of Liechtenstein (FL). Comprehensive data for Swiss and Liechtenstein wildlife are not available so far, although two native species, wild boar (Sus scrofa) and red deer (Cervus elaphus elaphus), act as bTB reservoirs elsewhere in continental Europe. Our aims were (1) to assess the occurrence of bTB in these wild ungulates in CH/FL and to reinforce scanning surveillance in all wild mammals; (2) to evaluate the risk of a future bTB reservoir formation in wild boar and red deer in CH/FL. Tissue samples collected from 2009 to 2011 from 434 hunted red deer and wild boar and from eight diseased ungulates with tuberculosis-like lesions were tested by direct real-time PCR and culture to detect mycobacteria of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC). Identification of suspicious colonies was attempted by real-time PCR, genotyping and spoligotyping. Information on risk factors for bTB maintenance within wildlife populations was retrieved from the literature and the situation regarding identified factors was assessed for our study areas. Mycobacteria of the MTBC were detected in six out of 165 wild boar (3.6%; 95% CI: 1.4–7.8) but none of the 269 red deer (0%; 0–1.4). M. microti was identified in two MTBC-positive wild boar, while species identification remained unsuccessful in four cases. Main risk factors for bTB maintenance worldwide, including different causes of aggregation often resulting from intensive wildlife management, are largely absent in CH and FL. In conclusion, M. bovis and M. caprae were not detected but we report for the first time MTBC mycobacteria in Swiss wild boar. Present conditions seem unfavorable for a reservoir emergence, nevertheless increasing population numbers of wild ungulates and offal consumption may represent a risk.
The control of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is at a critical point in the last stage of eradication in livestock. Wildlife species recently have emerged infected with TB in Europe, particularly ungulates in the Iberian Peninsula. Epidemiological information regarding TB in wild ungulates including affected species, prevalence, associated risk factors and appropriate diagnostic methods need to be obtained in these countries.
A cross-sectional study was carried out on wild artiodactyl species, including Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capraelus capraelus), fallow deer (Dama dama), Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) and mouflon (Ovis musimon), in Spain to assess the seroprevalence against Mycobacterium bovis or cross-reacting members of the Mycobcaterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), and to provide information on associated risk factors. Previously, two in-house indirect enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (bPPD-ELISA and MPB83-ELISA) were developed using known TB status sera. Positive reference sera were selected from infected animals confirmed by culture. The M. bovis isolates belonged to spoligotypes SB0121, SB0120, SB0295, SB0265 and SB0134. Two hundred and two out of 1367 (7.5%; 95% CI: 6.1–8.9) animals presented antibodies against M. bovis by both bPPD-ELISA and MPB83-ELISA. Significantly higher TB seroprevalence was observed in wild boar compared to the other species analyzed. Interestingly, seropositivity against M. bovis was not found in any out of 460 Spanish ibex analyzed. The logistic regression model for wild boar indicated that the seropositivity to M. bovis was associated with age, location and year of sampling, while the only risk factor associated with M. bovis seroprevalence in red deer and fallow deer was the age. The seroprevalence observed indicates a widespread exposure to MTBC in several wild artiodactyl species in southern Spain, which may have important implications not only for conservation but also for animal and public health.
Despite ongoing eradication efforts, bovine tuberculosis (BTB) remains a challenge in Michigan livestock and wildlife. The objectives of this study were to (1) review the epidemiology of BTB in Michigan cattle, privately owned cervids, and wildlife between 1975 and 2010 and (2) identify important lessons learned from the review and eradication strategies. BTB information was accessed from the Michigan BTB Eradication Project agencies. Cattle herds (49), privately owned deer herds (4), and wild white-tailed deer (668) were found infected with BTB during the review period. BTB has occurred primarily in counties located at the northern portion of the state's Lower Peninsula. Currently used BTB eradication strategies have successfully controlled BTB spread. However additional changes in BTB surveillance, prevention, and eradication strategies could improve eradication efforts.
Doñana National Park (DNP) in southern Spain is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where commercial hunting and wildlife artificial feeding do not take place and traditional cattle husbandry still exists. Herein, we hypothesized that Mycobacterium bovis infection prevalence in wild ungulates will depend on host ecology and that variation in prevalence will reflect variation in the interaction between hosts and environmental risk factors. Cattle bTB reactor rates increased in DNP despite compulsory testing and culling of infected animals. In this study, 124 European wild boar, 95 red deer, and 97 fallow deer were sampled from April 2006 to April 2007 and analyzed for M. bovis infection. Modelling and GIS were used to identify risk factors and intra and inter-species relationships. Infection with M. bovis was confirmed in 65 (52.4%) wild boar, 26 (27.4%) red deer and 18 (18.5%) fallow deer. In the absence of cattle, wild boar M. bovis prevalence reached 92.3% in the northern third of DNP. Wild boar showed more than twice prevalence than that in deer (p<0.001). Modelling revealed that M. bovis prevalence decreased from North to South in wild boar (p<0.001) and red deer (p<0.01), whereas no spatial pattern was evidenced for fallow deer. Infection risk in wild boar was dependent on wild boar M. bovis prevalence in the buffer area containing interacting individuals (p<0.01). The prevalence recorded in this study is among the highest reported in wildlife. Remarkably, this high prevalence occurs in the absence of wildlife artificial feeding, suggesting that a feeding ban alone would have a limited effect on wildlife M. bovis prevalence. In DNP, M. bovis transmission may occur predominantly at the intra-species level due to ecological, behavioural and epidemiological factors. The results of this study allow inferring conclusions on epidemiological bTB risk factors in Mediterranean habitats that are not managed for hunting purposes. Our results support the need to consider wildlife species for the control of bTB in cattle and strongly suggest that bTB may affect animal welfare and conservation.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an emerging disease among wild animals in many parts of the world. Wildlife reservoir hosts may thus represent a potential source of infection for livestock and humans. We investigated the role played by the Sicilian black pig, an autochthonous free- or semi-free-ranging domestic pig breed, as a potential source of bTB infection in an area where bTB prevalence in cattle is high. We initially performed a preliminary field study to assess the occurrence of bTB in such animals. We sampled 119 pigs at abattoir and found 6.7% and 3.4% of them to be affected by gross tuberculous-like lesions (TBL) and Mycobacterium bovis culture positive, respectively. We then proceeded to investigate the dissemination and characteristics of lesions in a second field study performed on 100 animals sampled from infected herds. Here, tissues collected at the abattoir were examined macroscopically, microscopically, and by culture tests. Most pigs with TBL showed generalized lesions in both gross and histological examinations (53% and 65.5%, respectively). Head lymph nodes were the most frequently affected in both localized and generalized TB cases observed macroscopically and microscopically. M. bovis was the most frequently isolated etiologic agent. The molecular characterization of isolates from both field studies by spoligotyping and analysis of 12 mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit–variable number tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) loci, followed by their comparison to isolates of cattle origin, suggested a potential transmission of mycobacteria from domestic animals to black pigs and vice versa. Our findings, along with ethological, ecological, and management considerations, suggest that the black pig might act as a bTB reservoir in the ecosystem under study. However, additional studies will be necessary to establish the true epidemiological significance of the Sicilian black pig.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an important disease of cattle and an emerging infectious disease of humans. Cow- and badger-based control strategies have failed to eradicate bTB from the British cattle herd, and the incidence is rising by about 18% per year. The annual cost to taxpayers in Britain is currently £74 million. Research has focused on the badger as a potential bTB reservoir, with little attention being paid to other mammals common on farmland. We have conducted a systematic survey of wild mammals (n=4393 individuals) present on dairy farms to explore the role of species other than badgers in the epidemiology of bTB. Cultures were prepared from 10 397 samples (primarily faeces, urine and tracheal aspirates). One of the 1307 bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) live-sampled, and three of the 43 badgers (Meles meles), yielded positive isolates of Mycobacterium bovis. This is the first time the bacterium has been isolated from the bank vole. The strain type was the same as that found in cattle and badgers on the same farm. However, our work indicates that the mean prevalence of infectious individuals among common farmland wildlife is extremely low (the upper 95% confidence interval is ≤2.0 for all of the abundant species). Mathematical models illustrate that it is highly unlikely the disease could be maintained at such low levels. Our results suggest that these animals are relatively unimportant as reservoirs of bTB, having insufficient within-species (or within-group) transmission to sustain the infection, though occasional spill-overs from cattle or badgers may occur.
bovine tuberculosis; Mycobacterium bovis; epidemiology; voles; PCR; mycobacterium microti
Eradication of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) through the application of test-and-cull programs is a declared goal of developed countries in which the disease is still endemic. Here, longitudinal data from more than 1,700 cattle herds tested during a 12 year-period in the eradication program in the region of Madrid, Spain, were analyzed to quantify the within-herd transmission coefficient (β) depending on the herd-type (beef/dairy/bullfighting). In addition, the probability to recover the officially bTB free (OTF) status in infected herds depending on the type of herd and the diagnostic strategy implemented was assessed using Cox proportional hazard models.
Overall, dairy herds showed higher β (median 4.7) than beef or bullfighting herds (2.3 and 2.2 respectively). Introduction of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) as an ancillary test produced an apparent increase in the β coefficient regardless of production type, likely due to an increase in diagnostic sensitivity. Time to recover OTF status was also significantly lower in dairy herds, and length of bTB episodes was significantly reduced when the IFN-γ was implemented to manage the outbreak.
Our results suggest that bTB spreads more rapidly in dairy herds compared to other herd types, a likely cause being management and demographic-related factors. However, outbreaks in dairy herds can be controlled more rapidly than in typically extensive herd types. Finally, IFN-γ proved its usefulness to rapidly eradicate bTB at a herd-level.
Ethiopia has the largest cattle population in Africa. The vast majority of the national herd is of indigenous zebu cattle maintained in rural areas under extensive husbandry systems. However, in response to the increasing demand for milk products and the Ethiopian government's efforts to improve productivity in the livestock sector, recent years have seen increased intensive husbandry settings holding exotic and cross breeds. This drive for increased productivity is however threatened by animal diseases that thrive under intensive settings, such as bovine tuberculosis (BTB), a disease that is already endemic in Ethiopia.
An extensive study was conducted to: estimate the prevalence of BTB in intensive dairy farms in central Ethiopia; identify associated risk factors; and characterize circulating strains of the causative agent, Mycobacterium bovis. The comparative intradermal tuberculin test (CIDT), questionnaire survey, post-mortem examination, bacteriology, and molecular typing were used to get a better understanding of the BTB prevalence among dairy farms in the study area. Based on the CIDT, our findings showed that around 30% of 2956 tested dairy cattle from 88 herds were positive for BTB while the herd prevalence was over 50%. Post-mortem examination revealed gross tuberculous lesions in 34/36 CIDT positive cattle and acid-fast bacilli were recovered from 31 animals. Molecular typing identified all isolates as M. bovis and further characterization by spoligotyping and MIRU-VNTR typing indicated low strain diversity within the study area.
This study showed an overall BTB herd prevalence of 50% in intensive dairy farms in Addis Ababa and surroundings, signalling an urgent need for intervention to control the disease and prevent zoonotic transmission of M. bovis to human populations consuming dairy products coming from these farms. It is suggested that government and policy makers should work together with stakeholders to design methods for the control of BTB in intensive farms in Ethiopia.
Human and livestock diseases can be difficult to control where infection persists in wildlife populations. Control of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in British cattle is complicated by the maintenance of Mycobacterium bovis (the causative agent of bTB) in badgers, acting as reservoirs of infection. Although over 20 000 badgers were culled to control bTB between 1975 and 1997, the incidence of bTB in cattle has substantially increased in parts of Great Britain in recent decades. Our case-control study, involving 1208 cattle herds, provides further evidence of the detrimental effect of localized reactive badger culling in response to the disclosure of a confirmed bTB herd breakdown in cattle. The presence of any reactive badger culling activity and increased numbers of badgers culled in the vicinity of a herd were associated with significantly increased bTB risk, even after adjusting for other important local risk factors. Such findings may partly explain why some earlier localized approaches to bTB control were ineffective.
bovine tuberculosis; case-control study; localized reactive badger culling; Randomized Badger Culling Trial
The worldwide status of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) as a zoonosis remains of great concern. This article reviews the main risk factors for bTB in cattle based on a three-level classification: animal, herd and region/country level. A distinction is also made, whenever possible, between situations in developed and developing countries as the difference of context might have consequences in terms of risk of bTB. Recommendations are suggested to animal health professionals and scientists directly involved in the control and prevention of bTB in cattle. The determination of Millenium Development Goals for bTB is proposed to improve the control/eradication of the disease worldwide.
zoonosis; Mycobacterium bovis; cattle; risk factor; epidemiology
We report the first case of bovine tuberculosis in a free-living Iberian lynx (Lynx pardina), an extremely endangered feline, from Doñana National Park in Spain. The isolate (Mycobacterium bovis) correlates by molecular characterization with other isolates from wild ungulates in the park, strongly suggesting an epidemiologic link. Mycobacterium bovis infects many animal species, with wild and free-ranging domestic ungulates being the main reservoirs in nature (1).
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an enduring contagious disease of cattle that has caused substantial losses to the global livestock industry. Despite large-scale eradication efforts, bTB continues to persist. Current bTB tests rely on the measurement of immune responses in vivo (skin tests), and in vitro (bovine interferon-γ release assay). Recent developments are characterized by interrogating the expression of an increasing number of genes that participate in the immune response. Currently used assays have the disadvantages of limited sensitivity and specificity, which may lead to incomplete eradication of bTB. Moreover, bTB that reemerges from wild disease reservoirs requires early and reliable diagnostics to prevent further spread. In this work, we use high-throughput sequencing of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) transcriptome to identify an extensive panel of genes that participate in the immune response. We also investigate the possibility of developing a reliable bTB classification framework based on RNA-Seq reads.
Pooled PBMC mRNA samples from unaffected calves as well as from those with disease progression of 1 and 2 months were sequenced using the Illumina Genome Analyzer II. More than 90 million reads were splice-aligned against the reference genome, and deposited to the database for further expression analysis and visualization. Using this database, we identified 2,312 genes that were differentially expressed in response to bTB infection (p<10−8). We achieved a bTB infected status classification accuracy of more than 99% with split-sample validation on newly designed and learned mixtures of expression profiles.
We demonstrated that bTB can be accurately diagnosed at the early stages of disease progression based on RNA-Seq high-throughput sequencing. The inclusion of multiple genes in the diagnostic panel, combined with the superior sensitivity and broader dynamic range of RNA-Seq, has the potential to improve the accuracy of bTB diagnostics. The computational pipeline used for the project is available from http://code.google.com/p/bovine-tb-prediction.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, continues to be a serious economic problem for the British cattle industry. The Eurasian badger (Meles meles) is partly responsible for maintenance of the disease and its transmission to cattle. Previous attempts to manage the disease by culling badgers have been hampered by social perturbation, which in some situations is associated with increases in the cattle herd incidence of bTB. Following the licensing of an injectable vaccine, we consider the relative merits of management strategies to reduce bTB in badgers, and thereby reduce cattle herd incidence. We used an established simulation model of the badger-cattle-TB system and investigated four proposed strategies: business as usual with no badger management, large-scale proactive badger culling, badger vaccination, and culling with a ring of vaccination around it. For ease of comparison with empirical data, model treatments were applied over 150 km2 and were evaluated over the whole of a 300 km2 area, comprising the core treatment area and a ring of approximately 2 km. The effects of treatment were evaluated over a 10-year period comprising treatment for five years and the subsequent five year period without treatment. Against a background of existing disease control measures, where 144 cattle herd incidents might be expected over 10 years, badger culling prevented 26 cattle herd incidents while vaccination prevented 16. Culling in the core 150 km2 plus vaccination in a ring around it prevented about 40 cattle herd breakdowns by partly mitigating the negative effects of culling, although this approach clearly required greater effort. While model outcomes were robust to uncertainty in parameter estimates, the outcomes of culling were sensitive to low rates of land access for culling, low culling efficacy, and the early cessation of a culling strategy, all of which were likely to lead to an overall increase in cattle disease.
Bovine tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, is one of the most challenging endemic diseases currently facing government, the veterinary profession, and the farming industry in the United Kingdom and Ireland and in several other countries. The disease has a notoriously complex epidemiology; the scientific evidence supports both cattle-cattle and wildlife-cattle transmission routes. To produce more effective ways of reducing such transmission, it is important to understand those risk factors which influence the presence or absence of bovine TB in cattle herds. Here we review the literature on herd-level risk factor studies. Whilst risk factors operate at different scales and may vary across regions, epidemiological studies have identified a number of risk factors associated with bovine TB herd breakdowns, including the purchase of cattle, the occurrence of bovine TB in contiguous herds, and/or the surrounding area as well as herd size. Other factors identified in some studies include farm and herd management practices, such as, the spreading of slurry, the use of certain housing types, farms having multiple premises, and the use of silage clamps. In general, the most consistently identified risk factors are biologically plausible and consistent with known transmission routes involving cattle-cattle and wildlife-cattle pathways.
Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is widespread but poorly controlled in Africa and M. bovis is posing threats to human health. The risk of cattle handlers to M. bovis prevalence and public health significance of BTB in Cameroon were assessed. Slaughter inspection records from major cities revealed that BTB detection rates in cattle from 0.18% to 4.25% and BTB lesions were most common. Analyses of tissues and sera confirmed BTB in 31% (Ziehl-Neelsen), 51% (culture), and 60% (antibody detection) of test cattle. Among cattle handlers, 81.9% were aware of BTB, 67.9% knew that BTB is zoonotic, and 53.8% knew one mode of transmission but over 27% consumed raw meat and/or drank unpasteurized milk. Respondents who had encountered tuberculosis cases were more informed about zoonotic BTB (P < .05). Tuberculosis is prevalent in cattle destined for human consumption in Cameroon with serious public health implications. Targeted monitoring of infected animal populations and concerted veterinary/medical efforts are essential for control.
The incidence of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is increasing in Great Britain, exacerbated by the temporary suspension of herd testing in 2001 for fear of spreading the much more contagious foot and mouth disease. The transmission pathways of BTB remain poorly understood. Current hypotheses suggest the disease is introduced into susceptible herds from a wildlife reservoir (principally the Eurasian Badger) and/or from cattle purchased from infected areas, while the role of climatic factors in transmission has generally been ignored. Here, we show how remotely sensed satellite data, which provide good indicators of a variety of climatic factors, can be used to describe the distribution of BTB in Great Britain in 1997, and suggest how such data could be used to produce BTB risk maps for the future.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a very important disease of cattle in Great Britain, where it has been increasing in incidence and geographical distribution. In addition to cattle, it infects other species of domestic and wild animals, in particular the European badger (Meles meles). Policy to control bTB is vigorously debated and contentious because of its implications for the livestock industry and because some policy options involve culling badgers, the most important wildlife reservoir. This paper describes a project to provide a succinct summary of the natural science evidence base relevant to the control of bTB, couched in terms that are as policy-neutral as possible. Each evidence statement is placed into one of four categories describing the nature of the underlying information. The evidence summary forms the appendix to this paper and an annotated bibliography is provided in the electronic supplementary material.
bovine tuberculosis; epidemiology; cattle; badgers; vaccination
Eradicating disease from livestock populations involves the balancing act of removing sufficient numbers of diseased animals without removing too many healthy individuals in the process. As ever more tests for bovine tuberculosis (BTB) are carried out on the UK cattle herd, and each positive herd test triggers more testing, the question arises whether ‘false positive’ results contribute significantly to the measured BTB prevalence. Here, this question is explored using simple probabilistic models of test behaviour. When the screening test is applied to the average UK herd, the estimated proportion of test-associated false positive new outbreaks is highly sensitive to small fluctuations in screening test specificity. Estimations of this parameter should be updated as a priority. Once outbreaks have been confirmed in screening-test positive herds, the following rounds of intensive testing with more sensitive, albeit less specific, tests are highly likely to remove large numbers of false positive animals from herds. Despite this, it is unlikely that significantly more truly infected animals are removed. BTB test protocols should become based on quantified risk in order to prevent the needless slaughter of large numbers of healthy animals.
Mycobacterium bovis is the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle and wildlife. Direct aerosol contact is thought to be the primary route of infection between conspecifics, whereas indirect transmission via an environmental reservoir of M. bovis is generally perceived not to be a significant source for infection. Here, we report on the application of molecular technology (PCR) to quantify the prevalence of M. bovis in the environment and to explore its epidemiological significance. We show that the detectability of viable M. bovis at badger setts and latrines is strongly linked to the frequency of M. bovis excretion by infected badgers, and that putative M. bovis in the environment is prevalent on a large proportion of endemic cattle farms in Britain. These results raise important questions about the role of an environmental reservoir in bTB persistence.
Mycobacterium bovis; bovine tuberculosis; environment; survival; badger; Meles meles
Because of their relative simplicity and the barriers to gene flow, islands are ideal systems to study the distribution of biodiversity. However, the knowledge that can be extracted from this peculiar ecosystem regarding epidemiology of economically relevant diseases has not been widely addressed. We used information available in the scientific literature for 10 old world islands or archipelagos and original data on Sicily to gain new insights into the epidemiology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). We explored three nonexclusive working hypotheses on the processes modulating bovine tuberculosis (bTB) herd prevalence in cattle and MTC strain diversity: insularity, hosts and trade. Results suggest that bTB herd prevalence was positively correlated with island size, the presence of wild hosts, and the number of imported cattle, but neither with isolation nor with cattle density. MTC strain diversity was positively related with cattle bTB prevalence, presence of wild hosts and the number of imported cattle, but not with island size, isolation, and cattle density. The three most common spoligotype patterns coincided between Sicily and mainland Italy. However in Sicily, these common patterns showed a clearer dominance than on the Italian mainland, and seven of 19 patterns (37%) found in Sicily had not been reported from continental Italy. Strain patterns were not spatially clustered in Sicily. We were able to infer several aspects of MTC epidemiology and control in islands and thus in fragmented host and pathogen populations. Our results point out the relevance of the intensity of the cattle commercial networks in the epidemiology of MTC, and suggest that eradication will prove more difficult with increasing size of the island and its environmental complexity, mainly in terms of the diversity of suitable domestic and wild MTC hosts.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a chronic disease of cattle caused by Mycobacterium bovis, a member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex group of bacteria. Vaccination of cattle might offer a long-term solution for controlling the disease and priority has been given to the development of a cattle vaccine against bTB. Identification of biomarkers in tuberculosis research remains elusive and the goal is to identify host correlates of protection. We hypothesized that by studying global gene expression we could identify in vitro predictors of protection that could help to facilitate vaccine development. Calves were vaccinated with BCG or with a heterologous BCG prime adenovirally vectored subunit boosting protocol. Protective efficacy was determined after M. bovis challenge. RNA was prepared from PPD-stimulated PBMC prepared from vaccinated-protected, vaccinated-unprotected and unvaccinated control cattle prior to M. bovis challenge and global gene expression determined by RNA-seq. 668 genes were differentially expressed in vaccinated-protected cattle compared with vaccinated-unprotected and unvaccinated control cattle. Cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction was the most significant pathway related to this dataset with IL-22 expression identified as the dominant surrogate of protection besides INF-γ. Finally, the expression of these candidate genes identified by RNA-seq was evaluated by RT-qPCR in an independent set of PBMC samples from BCG vaccinated and unvaccinated calves. This experiment confirmed the importance of IL-22 as predictor of vaccine efficacy.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a chronic disease of cattle caused by Mycobacterium bovis, a member of a complex group of pathogens that also includes the bacterium causing human tuberculosis, M. tuberculosis. Vaccination of cattle might offer a long-term solution for controlling the disease and priority has been given to the development of a cattle vaccine against bTB. In addition to the relevance for the veterinary field, cattle can also serve as useful pre-clinical model for the development of human vaccines. Identification of biomarkers in tuberculosis research remains elusive and the goal of this study was to identify host markers that allow the prediction of vaccine success. In this experiment, the outcome of vaccination was measured against relevant endpoints based on disease severity. Our results, generated using the state-of-the-art methodology of transcriptome sequencing defined a dominant role of the cytokine IL-22 for predicting vaccine success. We therefore identified a predictive biomarker that can be used in future experiments and also highlighted the role of T cells producing this cytokine in protective immunity.
Both badgers and livestock movements have been implicated in contributing to the ongoing epidemic of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in British cattle. However, the relative contributions of these and other causes are not well quantified. We used cattle movement data to construct an individual (premises)-based model of BTB spread within Great Britain, accounting for spread due to recorded cattle movements and other causes. Outbreak data for 2004 were best explained by a model attributing 16% of herd infections directly to cattle movements, and a further 9% unexplained, potentially including spread from unrecorded movements. The best-fit model assumed low levels of cattle-to-cattle transmission. The remaining 75% of infection was attributed to local effects within specific high-risk areas. Annual and biennial testing is mandatory for herds deemed at high risk of infection, as is pre-movement testing from such herds. The herds identified as high risk in 2004 by our model are in broad agreement with those officially designated as such at that time. However, border areas at the edges of high-risk regions are different, suggesting possible areas that should be targeted to prevent further geographical spread of disease. With these areas expanding rapidly over the last decade, their close surveillance is important to both identify infected herds quickly, and limit their further growth.
epidemic; Mycobacterium bovis; breakdown
The history and epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis in cattle herds in East Sussex are described. Since 1960, following the compulsory eradication scheme for tuberculosis, the incidence of herd infection has been low. The epidemiological features of herd infection have been sporadic incidents, with only small numbers of cattle becoming infected in the majority of incidents. There was no evidence of endemic Mycobacterium bovis infection in the cattle population in East Sussex in recent years, but a low risk of infection for cattle on the South Downs, from badgers, was apparent.
The associations between habitat and other factors that lead to the risk of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in diary cattle were examined in an unmatched case–control study. Data from 60 herds with recent history of bTB and 60 controls were analysed using logistic regression. The predictors included farmland habitat, topography, indices of badger density and herd size. Information-theoretic approaches were used to identify those predictor variables explaining the greatest variation in cattle herd bTB breakdowns. Reduced risk of bTB was associated with the management of farmland in ways favourable to wildlife conservation, as encouraged by recent (2005) European Common Agricultural Policy reforms.
badgers; TB; Akaike information criterion; habitat; landscape
The control of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) remains a priority on the public health agenda in Great Britain, after launching in 1998 the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of badger (Meles meles) culling as a control strategy. Our study complements previous analyses of the RBCT data (focusing on treatment effects) by presenting analyses of herd-level risks factors associated with the probability of a confirmed bTB breakdown in herds within each treatment: repeated widespread proactive culling, localized reactive culling and no culling (survey-only).
New cases of bTB breakdowns were monitored inside the RBCT areas from the end of the first proactive badger cull to one year after the last proactive cull. The risk of a herd bTB breakdown was modeled using logistic regression and proportional hazard models adjusting for local farm-level risk factors. Inside survey-only and reactive areas, increased numbers of active badger setts and cattle herds within 1500 m of a farm were associated with an increased bTB risk. Inside proactive areas, the number of M. bovis positive badgers initially culled within 1500 m of a farm was the strongest predictor of the risk of a confirmed bTB breakdown.
The use of herd-based models provide insights into how local cattle and badger populations affect the bTB breakdown risks of individual cattle herds in the absence of and in the presence of badger culling. These measures of local bTB risks could be integrated into a risk-based herd testing programme to improve the targeting of interventions aimed at reducing the risks of bTB transmission.