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TB Found In Wild Boar Population

by 5m Editor
25 May 2010, at 8:56am

UK - Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (TB), has been detected in the UK wild boar population.

M. bovis infection has previously been identified in captive wild boar (Sus scrofa) on farms in south-west England.

In a letter published in the latest edition of Veterinary Record, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) and the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) confirmed the case in an apparently healthy adult female, weighing 60kg and estimated to be seven to nine months of age.

Post mortem of the carcass found colonies typical of M. bovis isolated on culture and it was confirmed by molecular typing as spoligotype 17.

Previous studies by FERA and the VLA have isolated the same M. bovis spoligotype from fallow deer, fox, wood mouse and polecat within an 11-km radius of the wild boar's location.

The letter said that spoligotype 17 is also frequently recovered from cattle in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The letter also said that the potential role of wild boar in the epidemiology of bovine TB in the UK is unclear.

A Defra spokesman said: “We are aware that Mycobacterium bovis (the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis, bTB) was identified for the first time in Great Britain in a feral wild boar captured in an area of high bTB incidence in the West of England. The risk to domestic livestock, wild animals and public health from M. bovis infection in wild boar remains low and this isolated incident does not alter our assessment.

“The main risk of human M. bovis infection arising from wild boar is probably occupational, for those handling live infected animals or their carcasses in the field (hunters, researchers).”

5m Editor