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Animal tuberculosis (TB) in terrestrial mammals is mainly caused by Mycobacterium bovis. This pathogen is adapted to a wide range of host species, representing a threat to livestock, wildlife, and human health. Disease heterogeneity is a hallmark of multi-host TB and a challenge for control. Drivers of animal TB heterogeneity are very diverse and may act at the level of the causative agent, the host species, the interface between mycobacteria and the host, community of hosts, the environment, and even policy behind control programs. In this paper, we examine the drivers that seem to contribute to this phenomenon. We begin by reviewing evidence accumulated to date supporting the consensus that a complex range of genetic, biological, and socio-environmental factors contribute to the establishment and maintenance of animal TB, setting the grounds for heterogeneity. We then highlight the complex interplay between individual, species-specific and community protective factors with risk/maintenance variables that include animal movements and densities, co-infection and super-shedders. We finally consider how current interventions should seek to consider and explore heterogeneity in order to tackle potential limitations for diagnosis and control programs, simultaneously increasing their efficacy.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Transboundary and emerging diseases
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The killing of animals for reasons of mercy, to control disease transmission or maintain the health of animal populations, or for experimental purposes (ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION).
Programs of surveillance designed to prevent the transmission of disease by any means from person to person or from animal to man.
The presence of apparently similar characters for which the genetic evidence indicates that different genes or different genetic mechanisms are involved in different pedigrees. In clinical settings genetic heterogeneity refers to the presence of a variety of genetic defects which cause the same disease, often due to mutations at different loci on the same gene, a finding common to many human diseases including ALZHEIMER DISEASE; CYSTIC FIBROSIS; LIPOPROTEIN LIPASE DEFICIENCY, FAMILIAL; and POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASES. (Rieger, et al., Glossary of Genetics: Classical and Molecular, 5th ed; Segen, Dictionary of Modern Medicine, 1992)
The transmission of infectious disease or pathogens. When transmission is within the same species, the mode can be horizontal or vertical (INFECTIOUS DISEASE TRANSMISSION, VERTICAL).
A protein extracted from boiled culture of tubercle bacilli (MYCOBACTERIUM TUBERCULOSIS). It is used in the tuberculin skin test (TUBERCULIN TEST) for the diagnosis of tuberculosis infection in asymptomatic persons.
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