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      Mycobacterium bovis (bovine tuberculosis) infection in North American wildlife: current status and opportunities for mitigation of risks of further infection in wildlife populations


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          Mycobacterium bovis ( M. bovis), the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis, has been identified in nine geographically distinct wildlife populations in North America and Hawaii and is endemic in at least three populations, including members of the Bovidae, Cervidae, and Suidae families. The emergence of M. bovis in North American wildlife poses a serious and growing risk for livestock and human health and for the recreational hunting industry. Experience in many countries, including the USA and Canada, has shown that while M. bovis can be controlled when restricted to livestock species, it is almost impossible to eradicate once it has spread into ecosystems with free-ranging maintenance hosts. Therefore, preventing transmission of M. bovis to wildlife may be the most effective way to mitigate economic and health costs of this bacterial pathogen. Here we review the status of M. bovis infection in wildlife of North America and identify risks for its establishment in uninfected North American wildlife populations where eradication or control would be difficult and costly. We identified four common risk factors associated with establishment of M. bovis in uninfected wildlife populations in North America, (1) commingling of infected cattle with susceptible wildlife, (2) supplemental feeding of wildlife, (3) inadequate surveillance of at-risk wildlife, and (4) unrecognized emergence of alternate wildlife species as successful maintenance hosts. We then propose the use of integrated and adaptive disease management to mitigate these risk factors to prevent establishment of M. bovis in susceptible North American wildlife species.

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          Evidence of the role of European wild boar as a reservoir of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.

          Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is caused by Mycobacterium bovis and closely related mycobacteria of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. They have an extensive host range and may cause zoonotic TB. A major obstacle to bTB eradication in livestock is the implication of wildlife in the natural cycle of the pathogen. The identification of wildlife reservoir hosts is crucial for the implementation of effective control measures. The European wild boar (Sus scrofa) is frequently considered a spillover or dead end host rather than a true reservoir, and scientific evidence is conflicting outside Mediterranean Spain. The aim of this review is to update current scientific evidence of the wild boar as a TB reservoir and to underline those aspects that need further research. Evidences supporting that wild boar is a TB reservoir host include: (i) presence of common M. tuberculosis complex genotypes in wild boar, domestic and wild animals and humans, (ii) high prevalence of M. bovis among wild boar in estates fenced for decades in complete absence of contact with domestic livestock, and other wild ungulates (iii) TB lesions are frequently seen in thoracic lymph nodes and lungs, suggesting that respiratory infection and excretion may occur, and (iv) extensive tuberculous lesions in more than one anatomical region occur in a high proportion of juvenile wild boar that probably represents the main source of mycobacterial excretion. Hence, epidemiological, pathological and microbiological evidence strongly suggests that, at least in Spanish Mediterranean ecosystems, wild boar are able to maintain TB infection in the wild and are most probably able to transmit the disease to other species, acting as a true wildlife reservoir. These results expand the list of wildlife species that act as natural reservoirs of TB in different parts of the world and suggest the need to control the infection in wild boar populations for the complete eradication of the disease in Spain.
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            Active adaptive management for conservation.

            Active adaptive management balances the requirements of management with the need to learn about the system being managed, which leads to better decisions. It is difficult to judge the benefit of management actions that accelerate information gain, relative to the benefit of making the best management decision given what is known at the time. We present a first step in developing methods to optimize management decisions that incorporate both uncertainty and learning via adaptive management. We assumed a manager can allocate effort to discrete units (e.g., areas for revegetation or animals for reintroduction), the outcome can be measured as success or failure (e.g., the revegetation in an area is successful or the animal survives and breeds), and the manager has two possible management options from which to choose. We further assumed that there is an annual budget that may be allocated to one or both of the two options and that the manager must decide on the allocation. We used Bayesian updating of the probability of success of the two options and stochastic dynamic programming to determine the optimal strategy over a specified number of years. The costs, level of certainty about the success of the two options, and the timeframe of management all influenced the optimal allocation of the annual budget. In addition, the choice of management objective had a large influence on the optimal decision. In a case study of Merri Creek, Melbourne, Australia, we applied the approach to determining revegetation strategies. Our approach can be used to determine how best to manage ecological systems in the face of uncertainty.
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              The role of wild animal populations in the epidemiology of tuberculosis in domestic animals: how to assess the risk.

              Tuberculosis is present in wild animal populations in North America, Europe, Africa and New Zealand. Some wild animal populations are a source of infection for domestic livestock and humans. An understanding of the potential of each wild animal population as a reservoir of infection for domestic animals is reached by determining the nature of the disease in each wild animal species, the routes of infection for domestic species and the risk of domestic animals encountering an infectious dose. The mere presence of infection in a wild animal population does not of itself provide evidence of a significant wildlife reservoir. Although at times counterintuitive, wildlife populations with high disease prevalence may not necessarily have a role in the epidemiology of disease in domestic livestock. The key concepts used in deciding whether an infected wild animal population is involved in the epidemiology of tuberculosis in domestic livestock is illustrated by reference to six well-researched cases: the feral pig (Suis scrofa) and feral Asian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) in Australia, white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Michigan, and the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and other species, such as the ferret (Mustela furo), in New Zealand. A detailed analysis of Mycobacterium bovis infection in the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) in Ireland and their role as a reservoir of infection for cattle is also presented.

                Author and article information

                Epidemiol Infect
                Epidemiol. Infect
                Epidemiology and Infection
                Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, UK )
                July 2013
                09 May 2013
                : 141
                : 7 , TB in Wildlife
                : 1357-1370
                [1]USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health, Fort Collins, CO, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Author for correspondence: R. S. Miller, 2150 Centre Avenue, Bldg B, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA. (Email: Ryan.S.Milleraphis.usda.gov; Ryan.Miller@ 123456rsmiller.net )
                S0950268813000976 00097
                © Cambridge University Press 2013

                The authors of this article are US government employees. The online version of the article is published within an Open Access environment and may be freely copied, subject to attribution.

                : 31 October 2012
                : 01 April 2013
                : 02 April 2013
                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 1, References: 118, Pages: 14
                Bovine tuberculosis/M bovis

                Public health
                adaptive disease management,bovidae,bovine tuberculosis,cervidae,mycobacterium bovis,risk management,suidae,wildlife


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