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1.  Mycobacterium bovis infections in slaughter pigs in Mubende district, Uganda: a public health concern 
Background
Bovine tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium bovis is primarily a disease of ruminants, particularly cattle (Bos primigenius) and buffalo (Syncerus caffer), and is endemic in most developing countries. To date, studies done in Uganda have documented the prevalence of M. bovis in cattle, humans and wild life, in addition to non-tuberculous mycobacteria in pigs. Pigs are increasingly becoming an important component of the livestock sector and share the human ecosystem in rural Uganda. It is therefore of public health interest that they are not a source of human infections. As a follow up to previously published findings on mycobacteria in pigs, this study was aimed at investigating the occurrence and molecular characteristics of M. bovis detected in slaughter pigs in Mubende district, Uganda. One hundred fifty mesenteric lymph nodes with lesions suggestive of mycobacterial infections were collected from approximately one thousand slaughtered pigs in Mubende district over a period of five months. The isolation and identification of M. bovis was done using conventional mycobacteriological methods. Mycobacteria belonging to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) were identified to species level using deletion analysis. Molecular typing was done using Spoligotyping and MIRU-VNTR analysis. Molecular data were analysed and interpreted using MIRU-VNTR plus, SpolDB4.0 and the Mycobacterium bovis spoligo database.
Results
Of the examined animals, one boar and two sows from Madudu Sub County were infected with M. bovis which presented as lesions of a deep yellow colour and a grit-like texture in the mesenteric lymph nodes. This represents 2% (3/150) of the lymph nodes where lesions suggestive of mycobacterial infections were detected. Molecular analysis revealed that the isolates from the infected pigs showed identical MIRU-VNTR profile and spoligotype (SB1469).
Conclusions
This is the first study documenting the occurrence of M. bovis in slaughter pigs in Uganda, revealing that one in fifty slaughter pigs with suspected lesions in mesenteric lymph nodes were infected. Molecular analysis revealed that the isolates were identical, showing a spoligotype previously reported from humans and cattle in the north eastern part of the Uganda cattle corridor. This finding is of public health importance, therefore there is a need for close cooperation between medical and veterinary professionals in designing and implementing control and prevention measures that safeguard the public from this potential source of zoonotic TB in Uganda.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-168
PMCID: PMC3526550  PMID: 22999303
Pigs; Spoligotype; MIRU-VNTR; M. bovis; Uganda
2.  Non-tuberculous mycobacteria isolated from slaughter pigs in Mubende district, Uganda 
Background
The importance of infections caused by non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in animals and humans has gained considerable recognition during the past few years. In the developed world, where pig production is extensively practiced, studies on mycobacterial infections and related control strategies have received increasing attention. The infections are reported to be caused by a wide spectrum of NTM. Unfortunately, these infections have been less recognized in sub-Saharan Africa owing to lack of awareness and systematic studies. In this study we aimed at isolating and identifying species of mycobacteria involved in causing infections in slaughter pigs in Mubende district of Uganda. Furthermore we wanted to identify factors associated with infection prevalence in the study area.
Methods
A total of 363 lymph nodes were collected and cultured for the presence of mycobacteria. Isolates were identified by 16S rDNA gene sequencing. A questionnaire survey was administered to identify production related factors associated with infection prevalence. Data were assembled and analysed using descriptive statistics and mixed effects logistic regression analysis.
Results
Mycobacteria were detected in 39 % (143/363) of the examined lymph nodes, 63 % (59/93) of lymph nodes with gross lesions typical of mycobacteriosis and 31% (84/270) of lymph nodes with no visible lesions. Nineteen per cent of the isolated mycobacteria were identified as Mycobacterium (M) avium, of these 78% and 22% were M. avium sub sp. Hominissuis and avium respectively. Other mycobacterial species included M. senuense (16%), M. terrae (7%) and M. asiaticum (6%). This study found free range systems (OR = 3.0; P = 0.034) and use of water from valley dams (OR = 2.0; P = 0.049) as factors associated with high prevalence of mycobacteria in slaughter pigs.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated a high prevalence of NTM infections among slaughter pigs in Mubende district of Uganda. M. avium was the most prevalent of all NTM isolated and identified. Free range system of pig management and valley dam water were the most significant factors associated with NTM prevalence in Mubende district. These findings could be of a major public health concern given that it is in a predominantly pork consuming population with 18% HIV/AIDS prevalence. Therefore, stringent post-mortem inspection at the slaughter houses is of paramount importance to reduce human exposure.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-52
PMCID: PMC3490772  PMID: 22564290
3.  A comparative study of Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium and Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis in experimentally infected pigs 
Background
Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium (Maa) and Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis (Mah) are opportunistic pathogens that may infect several species, including humans and pigs. Mah is however more frequently isolated from pigs than Maa, and it is unclear if this is due to difference in virulence or in exposure to the two organisms. Clinical isolates of each subspecies were administered perorally to ten domestic pigs, respectively. The animals were sacrificed at six and 12 weeks after inoculation. At necropsy, macroscopic lesions were recorded, and tissue samples were collected for mycobacterial culture, IS1245 real time PCR and histopathological examination. Culturing was also performed on faecal samples collected at necropsy.
Results
Macroscopic and histopathological lesions were detected in pigs infected with each subspecies, and bacterial growth and histopathological changes were demonstrated, also in samples from organs without gross pathological lesions. Six weeks after inoculation, live Mah was detected in faeces, as opposed to Maa. The presence of live mycobacteria was also more pronounced in Mah infected tonsils. In comparison, the Maa isolate appeared to have a higher ability of intracellular replication in porcine macrophages compared to the Mah isolate.
Conclusions
The study shows that both subspecies were able to infect pigs. Additionally, the more extensive shedding of Mah might cause pig-to-pig transmission and contribute to the higher incidence of infection caused by this subspecies.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-11
PMCID: PMC3296603  PMID: 22284630
Mycobacterium avium; Experimentally infected pigs; Transmission; Source of infection
4.  Investigation of an outbreak of mycobacteriosis in pigs 
Background
A high proportion of pigs imported to Serbia from a Lithuanian breeding herd reacted positively against avian and/or bovine tuberculin. The pigs were euthanized and lesions characteristic for mycobacterial infection were detected. An investigation of potential mycobacteriosis in the pigs imported to Serbia and the possible source of infection in the Lithuanian herd were therefore initialised.
Results
Formalin fixed, paraffin embedded lymph nodes from tuberculin positive animals were examined by real-time PCR for IS1245 and IS6110. IS1245 was detected in 55% and IS6110 in 11% of the samples. Seven of the ten IS6110 positive samples were positive for IS1245. Eleven lymph nodes from 10 pigs and 15 environmental samples were collected from the Lithuanian breeding herd and cultured for mycobacteria. M. avium subsp. hominissuis was detected in all lymph nodes and from eight samples of peat and sawdust. Isolates with identical and related IS1245- and IS1311 RFLP profiles were detected from swine and peat.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated cross reactions between avian and bovine tuberculin in pigs. Real-time PCR indicated infection with M. avium in the Serbian pigs. However, as a small proportion of the lymph nodes were positive for IS6110, infection with bacteria in the M. tuberculosis complex could not be ruled out. Analyses confirmed the presence of M. avium subsp. hominissuis in porcine and environmental samples from the Lithuanian breeding herd. The results indicate peat as a source of M. avium subsp. hominissuis infection in these pigs, and that the pigs imported to Serbia were infected with M. avium subsp. hominissuis.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-63
PMCID: PMC3215643  PMID: 22014189

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