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Res Vet Sci. 2014 Oct;97 Suppl:S5-S19. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2014.02.009. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Overview and phylogeny of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex organisms: implications for diagnostics and legislation of bovine tuberculosis.

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Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Bern, Laenggassstrasse 122, 3012 Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK.
Centro Nazionale di Referenza per la Tubercolosi Bovina, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna, via Bianchi 9, 25124 Brescia, Italy.
Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Veterinary Faculty, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Avda. Puerta de Hiero s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


Members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) cause a serious disease with similar pathology, tuberculosis; in this review, bovine tuberculosis will be considered as disease caused by any member of the MTBC in bovids. Bovine tuberculosis is responsible for significant economic loss due to costly eradication programs and trade limitations and poses a threat to both endangered and protected species as well as to public health. We here give an overview on all members of the MTBC, focusing on their isolation from different animal hosts. We also review the recent advances made in elucidating the evolutionary and phylogenetic relationships of members of the MTBC. Because the nomenclature of the MTBC is controversial, its members have been considered species, subspecies or ecotypes, this review discusses the possible implications for diagnostics and the legal consequences of naming of new species.


Bovine tuberculosis; Legislation; Mycobacterium bovis; Mycobacterium caprae; Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; Phylogeny

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