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J Clin Microbiol. 2010 Aug;48(8):2802-8. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00293-10. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

New assessment of bovine tuberculosis risk factors in Belgium based on nationwide molecular epidemiology.

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Research Unit in Epidemiology and Risk Analysis Applied to Veterinary Sciences, Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, B42, Boulevard de Colonster 20, B-4000 Liège, Belgium.


This assessment aimed to elaborate a statistical nationwide model for analyzing the space-time dynamics of bovine tuberculosis in search of potential risk factors that could be used to better target surveillance measures. A database comprising Mycobacterium bovis molecular profiles from all isolates obtained from Belgian outbreaks during the 1995-to-2006 period (n = 415) allowed the identification of a predominant spoligotype (SB0162). Various databases compiling 49 parameters to be tested were queried using a multiple stepwise logistic regression to assess bovine tuberculosis risk factors. Two isolate datasets were analyzed: the first included all Mycobacterium bovis isolates, while the second included only data related to the SB0162 type strain. When all Mycobacterium bovis isolates were included in the model, several risk factors were identified: history of bovine tuberculosis in the herd (P < 0.001), proximity of an outbreak (P < 0.001), cattle density (P < 0.001), and annual amplitude of mean middle-infrared temperature (P < 0.001). The approach restricted to the predominant SB0162 type strain additionally highlighted the proportion of movements from an infected area during the current year as a main risk factor (P = 0.009). This study identified several risk factors for bovine tuberculosis in cattle, highlighted the usefulness of molecular typing in the study of bovine tuberculosis epidemiology, and suggests a difference of behavior for the predominant type strain. It also emphasizes the role of animals' movements in the transmission of the disease and supports the importance of controlling trade movements.

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