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1.  A Bayesian approach to study the risk variables for tuberculosis occurrence in domestic and wild ungulates in South Central Spain 
Background
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a chronic infectious disease mainly caused by Mycobacterium bovis. Although eradication is a priority for the European authorities, bTB remains active or even increasing in many countries, causing significant economic losses. The integral consideration of epidemiological factors is crucial to more cost-effectively allocate control measures. The aim of this study was to identify the nature and extent of the association between TB distribution and a list of potential risk factors regarding cattle, wild ungulates and environmental aspects in Ciudad Real, a Spanish province with one of the highest TB herd prevalences.
Results
We used a Bayesian mixed effects multivariable logistic regression model to predict TB occurrence in either domestic or wild mammals per municipality in 2007 by using information from the previous year. The municipal TB distribution and endemicity was clustered in the western part of the region and clearly overlapped with the explanatory variables identified in the final model: (1) incident cattle farms, (2) number of years of veterinary inspection of big game hunting events, (3) prevalence in wild boar, (4) number of sampled cattle, (5) persistent bTB-infected cattle farms, (6) prevalence in red deer, (7) proportion of beef farms, and (8) farms devoted to bullfighting cattle.
Conclusions
The combination of these eight variables in the final model highlights the importance of the persistence of the infection in the hosts, surveillance efforts and some cattle management choices in the circulation of M. bovis in the region. The spatial distribution of these variables, together with particular Mediterranean features that favour the wildlife-livestock interface may explain the M. bovis persistence in this region. Sanitary authorities should allocate efforts towards specific areas and epidemiological situations where the wildlife-livestock interface seems to critically hamper the definitive bTB eradication success.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-148
PMCID: PMC3483254  PMID: 22931852
2.  Eradication of bovine tuberculosis at a herd-level in Madrid, Spain: study of within-herd transmission dynamics over a 12 year period 
Background
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-100
PMCID: PMC3464814  PMID: 22748007
3.  Limitations of Spoligotyping and Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Typing for Molecular Tracing of Mycobacterium bovis in a High-Diversity Setting▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(9):3361-3364.
This study describes the attempt to trace the first Mycobacterium bovis outbreak in alpacas (Lama pacos) in Spain by spoligotyping and variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis. Due to high genotype diversity, no matching source was identified, but local expansion of a clonal group was found and its significance for molecular tracing is discussed.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00301-11
PMCID: PMC3165628  PMID: 21752973

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