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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2001;81(1-2):79-86.

Pathogenesis of tuberculosis in cattle.

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  • 1Veterinary Sciences Division, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Stoney Road, Belfast, BT4 3ND, Northern Ireland.


There has been a renewed interest in the pathogenesis of bovine tuberculosis in many countries, in an attempt to understand better its transmission, to improve diagnosis and assess the potential of vaccination. This paper, which overviews current knowledge of aspects of the pathogenesis of bovine tuberculosis, draws from studies of field cases and experimental infections and highlights deficiencies in current understanding. The pathogenesis of bovine tuberculosis has not received the same level of attention as with human tuberculosis, and in many instances, the processes involved in bovine tuberculosis have been drawn from studies of human tuberculosis or from small animal models of infection. This paper however, considers the successful emulation of naturally acquired tuberculosis using experimental cattle models and identifies the complex and integrated nature of microbiological, immunological and pathological events involved. Current understanding of the initiation of infection, immune responses, and subsequent pathology, which can vary significantly in individual animals are discussed. Whilst there are aspects of M. bovis that still remain elusive to scientific investigation, further studies on the pathogenesis of bovine tuberculosis are advocated as necessary to provide a better scientific basis on which to review control and eradication strategies, which are currently less than effective in many regions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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