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Vet Med Int. 2011 Apr 17;2011:410470. doi: 10.4061/2011/410470.

Perspectives on the History of Bovine TB and the Role of Tuberculin in Bovine TB Eradication.

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1
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Abstract

Tuberculosis remains a significant disease of animals and humans worldwide. Bovine tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacteria with an extremely wide host range and serious, although currently probably underdiagnosed, zoonotic potential. Where bovine tuberculosis controls are effective, human zoonotic TB, due to Mycobacterium bovis or M. caprae, is uncommon and clinical cases are infrequent in cattle. Therefore, the control and ultimate eradication of bovine tuberculosis is desirable. Tuberculin tests are the primary screening tool used in bovine eradication. The choice of tuberculin test is dependent on the environment in which it is to be used. Tuberculin potency is critical to test performance, and the accurate determination of potency is therefore particularly important. The design of a control or eradication programme should take into consideration the fundamental scientific knowledge, the epidemiological profile of disease, the experience of other eradication programmes, and the presence, in the same ecosystem, of maintenance hosts, in which infection is self-sustaining and which are capable of transmitting infection. A control or eradication programme will necessarily require modification as it progresses and must be under constant review to identify the optimal desirable goals, the efficacy of policy, and constraints to progress.

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