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N Z Vet J. 1995 Feb;43(1):1-3.

Mycobacterium avium infection in a farmed deer herd.

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AgResearch, Wallaceville Animal Research Centre, PO Box 40-063, Upper Hutt, New Zealand.


Tuberculous lesions were identified over a 2-year period in 36 clinically normal red deer from a single herd. The lesions were only present in the retropharyngeal lymph nodes and lymph nodes draining the intestinal tract, indicating infection by the oral route. Mycobacterium avium was isolated from 27 of 29 lesions examined by bacterial culture. Grossly and histologically, the lesions were indistinguishable from those caused by Mycobacterium bovis. DNA restriction endonuclease analysis revealed that all the 26 M. avium isolates available for examination had identical cleavage patterns. These patterns were identical to a New Zealand M. avium serotype 2 isolate from a pig and were very similar to a reference strain of M. avium serotype 2. The DNA examinations indicated that the deer were infected from a common source that was not identified.

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