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The variability and seasonality of the environmental reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis shed by wild European badgers.

King HC, Murphy A, James P, Travis E, Porter D, Hung YJ, Sawyer J, Cork J, Delahay RJ, Gaze W, Courtenay O, Wellington EM - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: The incidence of Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis, has been increasing in UK cattle herds resulting in substantial economic losses.The European badger (Meles meles) is implicated as a wildlife reservoir of infection.Here we identify potential infection hotspots in the badger population and quantify the heterogeneity in bacterial load; with infected badgers shedding between 1 × 10(3)- 4 × 10(5) M. bovis cells g(-1) of faeces, creating a substantial and seasonally variable environmental reservoir.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Warwick, School of Life Sciences, Gibbet Hill Campus, Coventry, CV4 7AL.

ABSTRACT
The incidence of Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis, has been increasing in UK cattle herds resulting in substantial economic losses. The European badger (Meles meles) is implicated as a wildlife reservoir of infection. One likely route of transmission to cattle is through exposure to infected badger urine and faeces. The relative importance of the environment in transmission remains unknown, in part due to the lack of information on the distribution and magnitude of environmental reservoirs. Here we identify potential infection hotspots in the badger population and quantify the heterogeneity in bacterial load; with infected badgers shedding between 1 × 10(3)- 4 × 10(5) M. bovis cells g(-1) of faeces, creating a substantial and seasonally variable environmental reservoir. Our findings highlight the potential importance of monitoring environmental reservoirs of M. bovis which may constitute a component of disease spread that is currently overlooked and yet may be responsible for a proportion of transmission amongst badgers and onwards to cattle.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Percentage positive badgers per social group determined by any culture positive (tracheal or faecal) or faecal culture compared with positives by faecal qPCR.Data aggregated across the entire year.
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f1: Percentage positive badgers per social group determined by any culture positive (tracheal or faecal) or faecal culture compared with positives by faecal qPCR.Data aggregated across the entire year.

Mentions: The availability of a method to quantify relative levels of environmental contamination with M. bovis could open up possibilities for monitoring spatial and temporal variation in risk and may help direct the implementation of disease control interventions. Currently the only means of measuring levels of infection in badger populations is through trapping and testing with BrockTB Stat Pak®(Stat Pak)11, Interferon gamma (IFNγ)12 and culture of clinical samples13. Cultivation, particularly from faecal material, has low sensitivity and is qualitative (Fig. 1). A qPCR method for non-invasive environmental monitoring of shedding was developed in our group1415. This qPCR assay quantifies faecal shedding, a measure that correlates strongly with the level of infection within a social group as measured by immunoassay (Spearman’s rho = 0.92, p < 0.001)16. The only other non-invasive method for monitoring infection in badger populations is culture of faecal material, which is particularly insensitive (Fig. 1). Using this optimised qPCR assay we are able to report on the spatio-temporal reservoir of M. bovis from badger faecal shedding in a natural population over the course of a year. Badgers defecate in latrines within or at the edges of their territories17 and hence they can be used to identify a defined population of animals.


The variability and seasonality of the environmental reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis shed by wild European badgers.

King HC, Murphy A, James P, Travis E, Porter D, Hung YJ, Sawyer J, Cork J, Delahay RJ, Gaze W, Courtenay O, Wellington EM - Sci Rep (2015)

Percentage positive badgers per social group determined by any culture positive (tracheal or faecal) or faecal culture compared with positives by faecal qPCR.Data aggregated across the entire year.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4527091&req=5

f1: Percentage positive badgers per social group determined by any culture positive (tracheal or faecal) or faecal culture compared with positives by faecal qPCR.Data aggregated across the entire year.
Mentions: The availability of a method to quantify relative levels of environmental contamination with M. bovis could open up possibilities for monitoring spatial and temporal variation in risk and may help direct the implementation of disease control interventions. Currently the only means of measuring levels of infection in badger populations is through trapping and testing with BrockTB Stat Pak®(Stat Pak)11, Interferon gamma (IFNγ)12 and culture of clinical samples13. Cultivation, particularly from faecal material, has low sensitivity and is qualitative (Fig. 1). A qPCR method for non-invasive environmental monitoring of shedding was developed in our group1415. This qPCR assay quantifies faecal shedding, a measure that correlates strongly with the level of infection within a social group as measured by immunoassay (Spearman’s rho = 0.92, p < 0.001)16. The only other non-invasive method for monitoring infection in badger populations is culture of faecal material, which is particularly insensitive (Fig. 1). Using this optimised qPCR assay we are able to report on the spatio-temporal reservoir of M. bovis from badger faecal shedding in a natural population over the course of a year. Badgers defecate in latrines within or at the edges of their territories17 and hence they can be used to identify a defined population of animals.

Bottom Line: The incidence of Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis, has been increasing in UK cattle herds resulting in substantial economic losses.The European badger (Meles meles) is implicated as a wildlife reservoir of infection.Here we identify potential infection hotspots in the badger population and quantify the heterogeneity in bacterial load; with infected badgers shedding between 1 × 10(3)- 4 × 10(5) M. bovis cells g(-1) of faeces, creating a substantial and seasonally variable environmental reservoir.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Warwick, School of Life Sciences, Gibbet Hill Campus, Coventry, CV4 7AL.

ABSTRACT
The incidence of Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis, has been increasing in UK cattle herds resulting in substantial economic losses. The European badger (Meles meles) is implicated as a wildlife reservoir of infection. One likely route of transmission to cattle is through exposure to infected badger urine and faeces. The relative importance of the environment in transmission remains unknown, in part due to the lack of information on the distribution and magnitude of environmental reservoirs. Here we identify potential infection hotspots in the badger population and quantify the heterogeneity in bacterial load; with infected badgers shedding between 1 × 10(3)- 4 × 10(5) M. bovis cells g(-1) of faeces, creating a substantial and seasonally variable environmental reservoir. Our findings highlight the potential importance of monitoring environmental reservoirs of M. bovis which may constitute a component of disease spread that is currently overlooked and yet may be responsible for a proportion of transmission amongst badgers and onwards to cattle.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus