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Vet Microbiol. 2008 Feb 5;127(1-2):1-9. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

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

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  • 1Instituto de Investigaci√≥n en Recursos Cineg√©ticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
18023299
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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