Infection by Mycobacterium caprae in three cattle herds in Emilia-Romagna Region, Northern Italy
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a contagious chronic disease associated with progressive emaciation (starvation) and tubercles (granuloma) formation commonly caused by Mycobacterium bovis. In cattle, M. caprae may also be responsible for bTB. In EU, human tuberculosis due to M. bovis had a notification rate of 0.04 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, but data did not include M. caprae infections. From September 2018 to April 2019, bTB outbreaks were investigated in three neighbouring dairy cattle herds in Parma province, Northern Italy. Parma municipality belongs to an officially free of bovine tuberculosis (OTF) Italian region. Official testing on cattle herds, performed every three years as legally required, revealed no positive animals. Tubercular lesions were found during the post mortem (PM) examination of slaughtered cattle and M. caprae genotype SB0418/VNTR 4,3,5,3,4,5,2,2,4, 3,15,5 was isolated. This report confirms the crucial importance of PM veterinary inspection at slaughterhouse, despite the OTF status of cattle herds.
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