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J Clin Microbiol. 2018 Aug 27;56(9). pii: e00302-18. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00302-18. Print 2018 Sep.

Mycobacterium bovis Persistence in Two Different Captive Wild Animal Populations in Germany: a Longitudinal Molecular Epidemiological Study Revealing Pathogen Transmission by Whole-Genome Sequencing.

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Molecular and Experimental Mycobacteriology, Priority Area Infections, Research Center Borstel, Borstel, Germany.
German Center for Infection Research, TTU-TB, Borstel, Germany.
Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Molecular Pathogenesis, Jena, Germany


Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) caused by Mycobacterium bovis is a transmissible disease notifiable to the World Organization for Animal Health and to the European Union, with ongoing efforts of surveillance and eradication in every EU member state. In Germany, a country which has been declared officially free from bovine tuberculosis since 1997 by the EU, M. bovis infections still occur sporadically in cattle and other mammals, including humans. Here, the transmission routes of a bTB outbreak in a wildlife park in Germany affecting different cervid species, bison, lynx, and pot-bellied pigs were followed by employing whole-genome sequencing (WGS) combined with spoligotyping and mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit-variable-number tandem-repeat (MIRU-VNTR) typing. One single M. bovis strain persisted from 2002 to 2015, and transmission between the park and a distantly located captive cervid farm was verified. The spoligotyping patterns remained identical, while MIRU-VNTR typing of 24 loci of the standardized panel and locus 2163a as an additional locus revealed one change at locus 2165 in a strain from a fallow deer and one at locus 2461 in isolates from red deer over the whole time period. WGS analysis confirmed the close relatedness of the isolates, with a maximum of 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) detected between any two sequenced isolates. In conclusion, our data confirm a longitudinal outbreak of M. bovis in a German wildlife park and provide the first insights into the dynamics of different genotyping markers in M. bovis.


MIRU-VNTR-typing; Mycobacterium bovis; Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; molecular epidemiology; spoligotyping; transmission; tuberculosis; veterinary microbiology; whole-genome sequencing

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