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Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 29;9(1):17892. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54268-x.

Isolation and comparative genomics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from cattle and their attendants in South India.

Author information

1
ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai, India. kannanvet@rediffmail.com.
2
Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Hills Rd, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, United Kingdom.
3
Translational Research Platform for Veterinary Biologicals (TRPVB), Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai, India.
4
ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai, India.
5
World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
6
Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Hills Rd, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, United Kingdom. sjp97@medschl.cam.ac.uk.

Abstract

The major human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis is rarely reported to cause disease in other animals. Cases in livestock are thought to occur through contact with infected handlers, but previous studies evaluating putative livestock-human transmission used typing techniques with limited resolution. Here, we undertook cross-sectional surveillance for tuberculosis in 271 livestock handlers and 167 cattle on three farms in Chennai, India and defined the relatedness of cultured isolates using whole genome sequencing. Humans and livestock were screened for active mycobacterial infection, and opportunistic post-mortem examination was performed on comparative intradermal test-positive cattle that died. Four cattle and 6 handlers on two farms were culture-positive for M. tuberculosis; M. bovis was not isolated. All 10 isolates (one from each case) belonged to Lineage 1. Pairwise genome comparisons of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) differences ranged from 1 to 600 SNPs, but 3 isolate pairs were less than 5 SNPs different. Two pairs were from handlers and the third pair were from two cattle on the same farm. The minimum pairwise SNP difference between a cattle and human isolate was >250 SNPs. Our study confirms the presence of M. tuberculosis infection in cattle in India, sequencing of which characterised relatedness between human and cattle-derived isolates.

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