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Molecular Epidemiology of Mycobacterium bovis in Humans and Cattle
Zoonoses and public health (2015)
  • Mohamed S Kamel, Cairo University
• Tuberculosis is a serious re-emerging disease worldwide. The problem of
antibiotic resistance is becoming increasingly common. The rate of
childhood TB increases annually.
• Mycobacterium bovis is responsible for great economic losses and represents
a severe threat to public health.
• The purpose of this review was to highlight the seriousness of M. bovis for
both humans and animals, and to focus on the importance of molecular epi-
demiological studies of M. bovis and the recent tools used in such studies.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), is a serious
re-emerging disease in both animals and humans. The evolution of the Multi-
and Extensively drug-resistant M. bovis strains (MDR-TB and XDR-TB) repre-
sents a global threat to public health. Worldwide, the disease is responsible for
great economic losses in the veterinary field, serious threat to the ecosystem, and
about 3.1% of human TB cases, up to 16% in Tanzania. Only thorough investiga-
tion to understand the pathogen’s epidemiology can help in controlling the dis-
ease and minimizing its threat. For this purpose, various tools have been
developed for use in advanced molecular epidemiological studies of bTB, either
alone or in combination with standard conventional epidemiological approaches.
These techniques enable the analysis of the intra- and inter-species transmission
dynamics of bTB. The delivered data can reveal detailed insights into the source
of infection, correlations among human and bovine isolates, strain diversity and
evolution, spread, geographical localization, host preference, tracing of certain
virulence factors such as antibiotic resistance genes, and finally the risk factors for
the maintenance and spread of M. bovis. They also allow for the determination of
epidemic and endemic strains. This, in turn, has a significant diagnostic impact
and helps in vaccine development for bTB eradication programs. The present
review discusses many topics including the aetiology, epidemiology and impor-
tance of M. bovis, the prevalence of bTB in humans and animals in various coun-
tries, the molecular epidemiology of M. bovis, and finally applied molecular
epidemiological techniques.

Publication Date
December 18, 2015
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