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tuberculosis

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Datasheet

tuberculosis

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • tuberculosis
  • Pathogens
  • Mycobacterium africanum
  • Mycobacterium avium
  • Mycobacterium bovis
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Overview
  • Mycobacteria found in soil and water have been isolated from tissues of animals (Kazda, 1973; Falkinham et al., 1979). Mycobacteri...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
In this case the granulomas are small and widespread and described as 'miliary'.
TitleLung of a pig with tuberculosis
CaptionIn this case the granulomas are small and widespread and described as 'miliary'.
CopyrightJohn Walton (Deceased)
In this case the granulomas are small and widespread and described as 'miliary'.
Lung of a pig with tuberculosisIn this case the granulomas are small and widespread and described as 'miliary'.John Walton (Deceased)
The granuloma is contained within a fibrous capsule. The disease can result in acute illness, but often progresses to a chronic debilitating disease which responds poorly to treatment due to the inability of antimicrobial drugs to penetrate the fibrous capsule of the lesion.
TitlePathology - bovine tuberculosis granuloma in the lung
CaptionThe granuloma is contained within a fibrous capsule. The disease can result in acute illness, but often progresses to a chronic debilitating disease which responds poorly to treatment due to the inability of antimicrobial drugs to penetrate the fibrous capsule of the lesion.
Copyright©Paul R. Greenough
The granuloma is contained within a fibrous capsule. The disease can result in acute illness, but often progresses to a chronic debilitating disease which responds poorly to treatment due to the inability of antimicrobial drugs to penetrate the fibrous capsule of the lesion.
Pathology - bovine tuberculosis granuloma in the lungThe granuloma is contained within a fibrous capsule. The disease can result in acute illness, but often progresses to a chronic debilitating disease which responds poorly to treatment due to the inability of antimicrobial drugs to penetrate the fibrous capsule of the lesion.©Paul R. Greenough

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • tuberculosis

International Common Names

  • English: avian tuberculosis; avian tuberculosis, mycobacterium infection; bovine tuberculosis; bovine tuberculosis, mycobacterium in cattle; caprine tuberculosis; caprine tuberculosis, mycobacterium in goats; mycobacteriosis; ovine tuberculosis; ovine tuberculosis, mycobacterium in sheep; porcine tuberculosis; porcine tuberculosis, mycobacterium in pigs; tuberculosis-associated focal necrotizing encephalitis in cattle; white plague

English acronym

  • TB

Pathogen/s

Top of page Mycobacterium africanum
Mycobacterium avium
Mycobacterium bovis
Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Overview

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Mycobacteria found in soil and water have been isolated from tissues of animals (Kazda, 1973; Falkinham et al., 1979). Mycobacterium fortuitum, a rapidly growing organism that is highly resistant to penicillin G, streptomycin, ampicillin, sulfamethoxazole and chloramphenicol has been associated with mastitis in cows, lymph node lesions in swine, and cutaneous lesions. Drug susceptibility tests indicate the organism is inhibited by capreomycin and by ethionamide. Mycobacterium chelonei, another rapidly growing mycobacterium similar to M. fortuitum in biochemical tests has been isolated from contaminated wounds and injection abscesses. These organisms must be distinguished from M. phlei, M. smegmatis and M. vaccae, which are non-pathogens.

A photochromogenic organism, M. kansasii, has been isolated from swine and cattle. These organisms can be differentiated using biochemical tests and have been associated with non-specific tuberculin responses.

Mycobacterium scrofulaceum is a scotochromogen that has been isolated from lymph node lesions in swine and cattle. M. xenopi, a slowly-growing scotochromogen has been isolated from swine and seafowl. These organisms should be differentiated from M. gordonae, another slowly growing scotochromogenic mycobacterium that is a common contaminant of water.

Numerous non-pathogenic mycobacteria, which closely resemble potential pathogens may be isolated from water and soil. M. gastri, M. triviale, M. terrae, which closely resemble strains of M. avium complex, may be differentiated by in vitro laboratory examinations.

Although opportunistic, non-M. bovis mycobacteria usually fail to produce progressive disease, they may however, be important in inducing transient tuberculin skin sensitivity in animals. As a consequence, the application of comparative cervical skin tests using biologically balanced purified protein derivatives prepared from the culture filtrate of M. bovis or from M. avium have been used to ensure specificity of the test to detect M. bovis infection. Tuberculins prepared for veterinary use for the comparative skin test contain approximately 5000 tuberculin units per test dose and are interpreted 72 h after intradermal injection: exposed animals have a delayed-type hypersensitivity. The comparative skin test is estimated to be 70% sensitive. A more recent test using gamma interferon on activated white blood cells is thought to have a higher sensitivity and to detect exposed cattle earlier in the infection process.

Bacteriologists working in diagnostic laboratories are concerned with opportunistic mycobacteria, because it is necessary to differentiate these organisms from pathogens of greater clinical significance such as M. bovis, M. avium complex and M. tuberculosis.

Pathogenic acid-fast bacilli of the genus Mycobacterium usually cause chronic, debilitating disease. However, tuberculosis caused by M. tuberculosis, M. bovis or M. avium can occasionally assume an acute, rapidly progressive course especially in immunocompromized hosts (Inglies and Weipers, 1963; Thoen and Waite, 1990). Mycobacteria affect nearly all species of vertebrate animals and, before control measures were adopted, was one of the major diseases of man and domestic animals (Thoen, 1994a,b). The signs and lesions are generally similar in the various species.


Aetiology


Three main types of tubercle bacilli are recognized: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. bovis and M. avium. The principal reservoirs of these are man, cattle and birds, respectively. Types of tubercle bacteria differ in cultural characteristics and pathogenicity. The two mammalian types are much more closely related to each other than they are to the avian type.

All three types may produce infection in host species other than their own (Francis, 1958). Mycobacterium tuberculosis is most specific; it rarely produces progressive disease in animals other than non-human primates and occasionally, dogs and parrots. Mycobacterium bovis, the cause of bovine tuberculosis, is capable of causing progressive disease in most warm-blooded vertebrates (Thoen, 1996). Mycobacterium avium ss avium is the only one of consequence in birds; but is also pathogenic for swine, cattle, sheep, mink, dogs, cats and cold-blooded animals (Thoen et al., 1984; Thoen and Williams, 1994). M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the cause of Johne's disease in cattle and other ruminants. Mycobacteria other than tubercle bacilli (MOTT) such as, M. fortuitum, M. chelonei,M. intracellulare and M. kansasii are infrequently isolated from domestic animals.

This disease is on the list of diseases notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The distribution section contains data from OIE's WAHID database on disease occurrence. Please see the AHPC library for further information on this disease from OIE, including the International Animal Health Code and the Manual of Standards for Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines. Also see the website: www.oie.int.

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Acinonyx jubatus
Bos grunniens (yaks)Domesticated host, Wild host
Bos indicus (zebu)Domesticated hostCattle & Buffaloes: All Stages
Bos taurus (cattle)Domesticated hostCattle & Buffaloes: All Stages
Bubalus bubalis (Asian water buffalo)
Canis familiaris (dogs)
Canis latrans (Coyote)
Capra hircus (goats)Domesticated hostSheep & Goats: Mature female
Capreolus capreolus
Cervus dama
Cervus elaphus (red deer)
Equus
Equus caballus (horses)Domesticated host, Wild hostOther: All Stages
Felis
GallusDomesticated hostPoultry: All Stages|Poultry/Mature female
Gallus gallus domesticus (chickens)
Homo sapiens
Kobus leche kafuensis
Lama pacos (alpacas)
Macaca fascicularis (crab-eating macaque)
Meles meles
Mustela putorius
Odocoileus virginianus
Ovis aries (sheep)Domesticated hostSheep & Goats: Mature female
Panthera leo (lion)
Papio ursinus
Phasianus colchicus (common pheasant)
Sus scrofa (pigs)Domesticated host, Wild hostPigs: Growing-finishing pig|Pigs/Gilt|Pigs/Sow
Tragelaphus scriptus

Systems Affected

Top of page bone, foot diseases and lameness in large ruminants
bone, foot diseases and lameness in pigs
digestive diseases of large ruminants
digestive diseases of pigs
digestive diseases of poultry
digestive diseases of small ruminants
mammary gland diseases of large ruminants
mammary gland diseases of pigs
mammary gland diseases of small ruminants
muscular skeletal diseases of poultry
nervous system diseases of large ruminants
nervous system diseases of pigs
nervous system diseases of poultry
nervous system diseases of small ruminants
reproductive diseases of large ruminants
reproductive diseases of pigs
reproductive diseases of poultry
reproductive diseases of small ruminants
respiratory diseases of large ruminants
respiratory diseases of pigs
respiratory diseases of poultry
respiratory diseases of small ruminants
skin and ocular diseases of large ruminants
skin and ocular diseases of pigs
skin and ocular diseases of poultry
skin and ocular diseases of small ruminants
urinary tract and renal diseases of large ruminants
urinary tract and renal diseases of pigs
urinary tract and renal diseases of poultry

Distribution

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A total of 21 African countries reported 1123 outbreaks of Tuberculosis to the AU-IBAR in 2011 (see table below) which contrasts with just 15 outbreaks reported in 2010. A total of 4950 cases were reported with 3364 animals slaughtered which is again a significant increase compared to the situation in 2010. DRC recorded the highest number of cases (1944), followed by Tunisia (1047), Malawi (391) and Cote d’Ivoire (296).

Countries reporting tuberculosis to AU-IBAR in 2011 

 

Country

Outbreaks

Cases

Deaths

Slaughtered

Destroyed

Algeria

121

192

0

192

0

Benin

17

507

48

397

0

Botswana

1

3

1

0

0

Chad

4

6

2

1

2

Comoros

2

3

0

0

NS

Congo Brazzaville

2

4

0

0

8

Congo DRC

31

1944

23

1069

0

Côte d'Ivoire

24

296

83

274

23

Egypt

47

145

0

86

0

Ethiopia

1

5

0

0

NS

Ghana

88

182

0

182

0

Madagascar

4

7

7

NS

1

Malawi

34

391

NS

NS

NS

Mozambique

7

20

9

5

11

Nigeria

7

10

2

14

0

South Africa

37

NS

NS

NS

NS

Tanzania

1

1

0

NS

NS

Togo

78

139

5

60

9

Tunisia

605

1047

 

1074

NS

Uganda

9

44

0

10

6

Zambia

3

4

4

NS

NS

Total (21)

1123

4950

184

3364

60

NS=Not specified

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentOIE (2012)
AngolaPresentOIE (2012); CABI (Undated)
BeninPresentOIE (2012)
BotswanaPresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: AU-IBAR (2011)
Burkina FasoPresentOIE (2012)
BurundiPresentOIE (2012)
Cabo VerdePresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
CameroonPresentAwa et al. (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
Central African RepublicPresentOIE (2012)
ChadPresentOIE (2012)
ComorosPresentOIE (2012)
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentOIE (2012)
Congo, Republic of thePresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: AU-IBAR (2011)
Côte d'IvoirePresentOIE (2012)
DjiboutiAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
EgyptPresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: AU-IBAR (2011)
EritreaPresentOIE (2012)
EswatiniPresentOIE (2012)
EthiopiaPresentOIE (2012)
GhanaPresentOIE (2012); Lawn (2000)
GuineaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
KenyaPresentOIE (2012); OIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
LibyaPresentOIE (2012)
MadagascarPresentOIE (2012)
MalawiPresentOIE (2012)
MoroccoPresentOIE (2012)
MozambiquePresentOIE (2012)
NigerPresentOIE (2012)
NigeriaPresentOIE (2012)
RwandaPresentOIE (2012)
São Tomé and PríncipeAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
South AfricaPresentOIE (2012)
TanzaniaPresentOIE (2012)
TogoPresentOIE (2012)
TunisiaPresentOIE (2012)
UgandaPresentOIE (2012)
ZambiaPresentOIE (2012)

Asia

AfghanistanPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
BangladeshPresentSamad and Rahman (1986)
BhutanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
BruneiAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
ChinaPresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: YuHai and ZhouShou (1998)
IndiaPresentThoen (1999)
IndonesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)Hardjoutomo (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
IranPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
IsraelPresent1999Thoen (1999)
JapanPresentThoen (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
JordanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
KazakhstanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
KuwaitAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Malaysia
-Peninsular MalaysiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
-SabahAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
-SarawakAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MongoliaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MyanmarPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
North KoreaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
OmanAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
PhilippinesPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
Saudi ArabiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
SingaporeAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
South KoreaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
Sri LankaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
SyriaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
TaiwanPresent1996Tsai YuJen and Chao PanHua (1996)
ThailandPresent2001CABI (Undated)
UzbekistanPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)

Europe

AndorraPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)CAB Abstracts Data Mining
BelgiumPresentGodfroid et al. (1997); OIE Handistatus (2005)
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPresent2002CABI (Undated a)
BulgariaPresent2002CABI (Undated a)
CroatiaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
CzechiaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
DenmarkPresent1988Thoen (1999)
FinlandPresent1982Thoen (1999)
FrancePresentThoen (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
GermanyPresentThoen (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
GreecePresent2000CABI (Undated a)
HungaryPresentThoen (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
IrelandPresentO'Keeffe and Crowley (1998); OIE Handistatus (2005)
ItalyPresentSala and Antonini (1998); OIE Handistatus (2005)
JerseyAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
LiechtensteinAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
LithuaniaPresent2001CABI (Undated a)
MoldovaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
NetherlandsPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
North MacedoniaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)CAB Abstracts Data Mining
PolandPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
PortugalPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
RussiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
-Russia (Europe)Present, WidespreadCABI (Undated)Original citation: OIE(1997)
SloveniaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
SpainPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
SwedenPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
UkrainePresentKochmarskii (1974); OIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
United KingdomPresentThoen (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
-Northern IrelandPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)

North America

Antigua and BarbudaAbsent, No presence record(s)CABI (Undated)Original citation: OIE(1997)
BarbadosAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
BermudaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
British Virgin IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Cayman IslandsAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Costa RicaPresentFisanotti et al. (1998); OIE Handistatus (2005)
CubaAbsent, No presence record(s)Kantor (1988); OIE Handistatus (2005)
CuraçaoAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
DominicaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Dominican RepublicPresent2003Kantor (1988)
GuatemalaAbsent, No presence record(s)Kantor (1988); OIE Handistatus (2005)
HaitiAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
HondurasPresentKantor (1988); OIE Handistatus (2005)
JamaicaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
MartiniqueAbsent, No presence record(s)Kantor (1988); OIE Handistatus (2005)
MexicoPresentFisanotti et al. (1998); OIE Handistatus (2005)
PanamaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Saint Kitts and NevisAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
Trinidad and TobagoAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
United StatesPresentOIE Handistatus (2005)
-MichiganPresent, LocalizedWhipple et al. (1997)
-TexasPresent, LocalizedWhipple et al. (1997)

Oceania

AustraliaPresentThoen (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
French PolynesiaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
New CaledoniaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
New ZealandPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
SamoaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
VanuatuAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)

South America

ArgentinaPresentFisanotti et al. (1998); OIE Handistatus (2005)
BrazilPresentThoen (1999); OIE Handistatus (2005)
ChilePresent1989CABI (Undated a)
ColombiaPresent1985CABI (Undated a)
EcuadorPresent1960CABI (Undated a)
French GuianaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
GuyanaAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
PeruAbsent, No presence record(s)OIE Handistatus (2005)
UruguayPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)
VenezuelaPresentOIE Handistatus (2005); CABI (Undated)

Pathology

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Clinical Findings


The signs exhibited depend upon the extent and location of the lesions. Enlarged superficial lymph nodes provide a useful diagnostic sign; however, small lesions located in deep lymph nodes are of little or no value in establishing a clinical diagnosis.


Swine


The lesions in swine infected with M. tuberculosis are often associated with lymph nodes of the gastrointestinal tract. Caseous lesions are most commonly found in the mesenteric or submaxillary lymph nodes; however, microscopic lesions have been observed in the portal and thoracic nodes and in the parenchyma of the lung. The lesions, characterized by the presence of epithelioid cells, with an occasional giant cell, cannot be consistently differentiated, on either gross or microscopic examination, from those caused by M. avium (Thoen, 1999).

Swine have been reported to be very susceptible to M. bovis. Progressive lesions are usually observed in submaxillary lymph nodes and the lungs; well defined tubercles may be present in the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes in the thoracic and abdominal cavities. Microscopically, granulomas may contain caseated centres with some mineralization. Giant cells and epithelioid cells are usually present in lesions in the lung. Although acid-fast bacilli can be demonstrated on appropriately stained sections, it should be emphasized that only a few tubercle bacilli may be observed. Outbreaks of infection are usually found on premises where tuberculosis has been diagnosed in cattle. Yards or buildings contaminated with faecal material that contains organisms may serve as a source of infection. Milk from infected cows has also been cited as a possible source of tubercle bacilli. Animals are usually infected by ingestion of the organism. There is little evidence for pig to pig transmission. Tuberculin tests are useful in diagnosis (Thoen, 1999).

Swine are susceptible to M. avium ss avium. In herds in which infections occur, lesions are reported in up to 55% of the slaughter swine. Carcasses with evidence of lesions in two or more body cavities are condemned or passed for cooking. Lesions due to M. avium cannot be consistently differentiated on gross or histopathologic examination from lesions due to M. bovis or M. tuberculosis. To confirm a diagnosis it is necessary to isolate and identify the etiologic agent (Thoen, 1999).


Sheep and goats


Information on the occurrence of tuberculosis in goats indicates they are susceptible to M. bovis (Gutiérrez and Marin, 1993; Gutiérrez et al., 1995; Gutiérrez et al., 1998). In natural and experimental infections with M. bovis, lesions are usually present in the lungs and associated lymph nodes. Tubercles may be present in the liver, spleen and other organs. Histologically, the lesions are very similar to those observed in cattle. Well-defined granulomas are observed and characterized by the presence of epithelioid cells and numerous giant cells (Bernabe et al., 1991; Marin et al., 1992). Acid-fast bacilli are usually present; however, the number of organisms varies greatly for different animals (Gutierrez and Marin, 1993).


Birds


Usually there are no signs until the disease has progressed to the point where the bird is thin and sluggish (Thoen, 1997). Lameness may be observed. Granulomatous nodules of varying size are found in many organs. In chickens, these are usually in the liver, spleen, bone marrow and intestine; however, some exotic species may have liver and spleen lesions without intestinal involvement. Bone marrow nodules and small mesenteric nodules may be found. Lesions are not calcified.

Diagnosis

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Clinical diagnosis is usually possible only after tuberculosis has reached an advanced stage. Most infected animals have become shedders of bacilli by this time and are a menace to other animals. The most reliable and practical method of reaching tentative diagnosis in large domestic animals is to apply the tuberculin skin test. Animals infected with mycobacteria are allergic to the proteins contained in tuberculin and develop characteristic delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions when exposed to tuberculoproteins. If tuberculin is deposited in the deep layers of the skin (intradermally), a local reaction characterized by inflammation and swelling is usually elicited in infected animals, whereas non-infected animals fail to develop such reactions at the injection site.

Animals suffering from infection with either M. bovis or M. tuberculosis react equally to tuberculin prepared from the culture filtrate of either organism. When testing for avian tuberculosis, whether in birds or mammals, an M. avium PPD tuberculin must be used, as such animals react less to tuberculin made from the culture filtrate of M. bovis.

The dose used in the intradermal tuberculin test is 0.1 ml (0.1 mg Protein) of a suitable tuberculin, containing 5,000 tuberculin units, in mammals and 0.05 ml in chickens. In the USA the larger mammals are usually injected in one of the folds at the base of the tail or in skin of the cervical region, swine in the skin behind the ear or vulva, and chickens in the skin of the wattle. The injection sites are examined by observation and palpation for characteristic swelling 48 hours after injection for swine and chickens, and in 72 hours for cattle, sheep and goats.


Cattle


Nearly all countries are now using a strain of Mycobacterium bovis for the preparation of purified protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin. Heat concentrated synthetic-medium old tuberculin (OT) is only infrequently used in some countries. A majority of the countries are now using purified protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin at a protein concentration of 1 mg/ml. The PPD tuberculins are preferable because they are easier to standardize and more specific than OT. Moreover, PPD tuberculins are particularly useful in the comparative-cervical (c-c) tuberculin test used to differentiate responses caused by M. bovis or M. tuberculosis and those induced by other mycobacteria. In cattle, the c-c test is performed by injecting biologically balanced M. avium and M. bovis PPD tuberculins into separate sites in the skin of the neck. The difference in the size of the 2 resultant responses usually indicates whether tuberculin sensitivity is caused by infection with M. bovis rather than by M. avium ss avium or M. avium ss paratuberculosis, or by other mycobacteria in the environment. These organisms are responsible for some of the false positive tuberculin reactions which are a major problem in areas where tuberculosis has been nearly eliminated and in those areas where infection with M. bovis was reduced to a low level (O’Reilly and Daborn, 1995).

The incidence of reactors with no gross lesions can be greatly reduced by the use of the c-c tuberculin test applied by experienced personnel; however, the c-c tests should not be used in herds where M. bovis has been diagnosed. The sensitivity and specificity of the intradermal test often depends on the field conditions, prevalence and other factors (Francis et al., 1978). Other diagnostic methods also based on the cellular immune response and performed in vitro, such as the gamma IFN test, has been developed and used, with similar results to the intradermal test (Whitty and O’Boyle, 1968; Wood et al., 1990; Wood et al., 1991; Gutiérrez et al., 1998). Serological tests can be useful when used in conjunction with the intradermal or gamma IFN test (Thoen et al., 1983; Ritacco et al., 1991; Wood et al., 1991; Gutiérrez et al., 1998). To confirm a diagnosis of tuberculosis, it is necessary to isolate and identify the etiologic agent. Cultural results usually require 6 to 8 weeks. The presence of specific lesions is also useful (Corner, 1994). However, not all true positive cases of tuberculosis will grow on culture.

Immunohistological methods to detect M. bovis antigen in paraffin sections can also be used (Gutiérrez and Marin, 1993). Different PCR techniques have also been reported to be useful in the diagnosis of M. bovis infections (Cousins et al., 1991; Soolingen et al., 1994). A DNA probe has been developed for identifying M. bovis in formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissues and results are available in a few days (Miller et al., 1997). Molecular techniques have been developed for use in the differentiation of strain-genotypes of M. bovis;these techniques have been applied in epidemiologic investigations in different animals (Kruiningen et al., 1988; Collins et al., 1994; Gutiérrez et al., 1995; Liebana et al., 1996; Gutiérrez et al., 1997).


Pigs


The tuberculin skin test is conducted using M. avium PPD injected intradermally on the dorsal surface of the ear and the site observed at 48 hours for swelling and induction.


Sheep and goats


The diagnosis of tuberculosis in goats is usually made as in cattle (Gutiérrez et al., 1998). The tuberculin skin test appears to be a reliable method for detecting animals infected with M. bovis (Perrin et al., 1984; Gutiérrez et al., 1998). M. bovis PPD can be injected in the skin of the cervical or shoulder regions. The test sites should be observed for induration and swelling 72-hours post-injection. An increase in skin thickness of 2 to 4 mm or more is considered a positive reaction (Perrin et al., 1984; Gutiérrez et al., 1998). A confirmative diagnosis of M. bovis requires a positive culture from lesions.

The tuberculin skin test is of value in the diagnosis of tuberculosis in sheep. It should be emphasized that both avian and mammalian tuberculins of equal potency should be used because of the susceptibility of sheep to M. avium ss avium and M. avium ss paratuberculosis.


Birds


Live birds may be tested with M. avium PPD tuberculins. The finding of large numbers of acid-fast bacteria in smears from lesions provides a tentative diagnosis. Recently, a rapid technique for identifying M. avium in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues has been detected (Gyimesi et al., 1999). To confirm a diagnosis it is necessary to isolate the organism.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Digestive Signs / Abdominal distention Sign
Digestive Signs / Abdominal distention Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Cattle & Buffaloes:Cow,Cattle & Buffaloes:Steer,Cattle & Buffaloes:Bull,Cattle & Buffaloes:Ox,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Digestive Signs / Ascites, fluid abdomen Cattle & Buffaloes:Cow,Cattle & Buffaloes:Steer,Cattle & Buffaloes:Bull,Cattle & Buffaloes:Ox,Cattle & Buffaloes:Not known,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Digestive Signs / Bloat in ruminants, tympany Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sign
Digestive Signs / Tongue protrusion Sign
Digestive Signs / Tongue ulcers, vesicles, erosions, sores, blisters, cuts, tears Sign
Digestive Signs / Tongue weakness, paresis, paralysis Sign
Digestive Signs / Vomiting or regurgitation, emesis Sign
General Signs / Cyanosis, blue skin or membranes Sign
General Signs / Dehydration Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Sign
General Signs / Forelimb lameness, stiffness, limping fore leg Sign
General Signs / Forelimb lameness, stiffness, limping fore leg Sign
General Signs / Forelimb swelling, mass in fore leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Generalized lameness or stiffness, limping Sign
General Signs / Generalized weakness, paresis, paralysis Sign
General Signs / Head, face, ears, jaw, nose, nasal, swelling, mass Sign
General Signs / Head, face, ears, jaw, nose, nasal, swelling, mass Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb swelling, mass in hind leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Icterus, jaundice Sign
General Signs / Inability to stand, downer, prostration Sign
General Signs / Increased mortality in flocks of birds Poultry:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Internal abdominal mass, swellings, adhesions abdomen Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
General Signs / Intraocular mass, swelling interior of eye Sign
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Sign
General Signs / Lameness, stiffness, stilted gait in birds Sign
General Signs / Lymphadenopathy, swelling, mass or enlarged lymph nodes Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
General Signs / Mammary gland swelling, mass, hypertrophy udder, gynecomastia Cattle & Buffaloes:Cow,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
General Signs / Oral cavity, tongue swelling, mass in mouth Sign
General Signs / Orbital, periorbital, periocular, conjunctival swelling, eyeball mass Sign
General Signs / Pale comb and or wattles in birds Poultry:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Pale mucous membranes or skin, anemia Sign
General Signs / Polydipsia, excessive fluid consumption, excessive thirst Sign
General Signs / Swelling mass penis, prepuce, testes, scrotum Sign
General Signs / Swelling mass penis, prepuce, testes, scrotum Sign
General Signs / Swelling mass uterus Sign
General Signs / Swelling of the limbs, legs, foot, feet, in birds Sign
General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule Sign
General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule Sign
General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule Sign
General Signs / Trembling, shivering, fasciculations, chilling Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Pigs:Piglet,Pigs:Weaner,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig
General Signs / Weight loss Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Abnormal corneal pigmentation Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Blindness Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Chemosis, conjunctival, scleral edema, swelling Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, injection, abnormal vasculature Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, redness Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal edema, opacity Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal swelling, mass, nodule Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal ulcer, erosion Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Exophthalmos, eyes protruding, proptosis Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Mouth, oral mucosal or tongue pain Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain mammary gland, udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Abortion or weak newborns, stillbirth Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Decreased, dropping, egg production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Edema of mammary gland, udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Female infertility, repeat breeder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Mastitis, abnormal milk Sign
Reproductive Signs / Mastitis, abnormal milk Sign
Reproductive Signs / Mastitis, abnormal milk Sign
Reproductive Signs / Purulent discharge, vulvar, vaginal Sign
Reproductive Signs / Purulent or mucoid discharge, cervix or uterus Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal breathing sounds of the upper airway, airflow obstruction, stertor, snoring Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal lung or pleural sounds, rales, crackles, wheezes, friction rubs Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Respiratory Signs / Coughing, coughs Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dull areas on percussion of chest, thorax Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow Sign
Respiratory Signs / Enlarged lung on percussion of chest, thorax Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Respiratory Signs / Haemoptysis coughing up blood Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Respiratory Signs / Increased respiratory rate, polypnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea Sign
Respiratory Signs / Mucoid nasal discharge, serous, watery Sign
Respiratory Signs / Purulent nasal discharge Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Poultry:All Stages,Pigs:Growing-finishing pig,Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Loss of feathers, loose feathers Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Ruffled, ruffling of the feathers Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin fistula, sinus Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin ulcer, erosion, excoriation Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin ulcer, erosion, excoriation Sign
Urinary Signs / Polyuria, increased urine output Sign

Disease Course

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Pathogenesis


Mycobacterium bovis infection commences with the formation of a primary focus, which in cattle is in the lung in a majority of cases; the primary lesion in poultry is nearly always in the intestinal tract. Lymphatic drainage from the primary focus in mammals leads to the formation of caseous lesions in the adjacent lymph node; this lesion, together with the primary focus, is known as the ‘primary complex’. This primary complex seldom heals in animals, but may progress slowly or rapidly (Nieberle and Cohrs, 1966; Huchzermeyer et al., 1994).

Wherever the organisms localize, their activity stimulates the formation of granulomas and in advanced cases these appear as tumour-like masses called tubercles (Thoen and Chiodini, 1993; Thoen and Bloom, 1995). Because of the continued growth of the organisms these tubercles often enlarge until they become of a great size. Large masses may develop on the serous membranes of the body cavities. As the granulomas increase in size, necrosis of their central portions may occur. Finally, these are reduced to caseous masses, which have a tendency to undergo mineralization or liquefaction. In mammals, tubercles may become enclosed in dense fibrous tissue and the disease becomes arrested. Advanced lesions associated with clinical disease include large and extensive, caseous nodules or cavities with liquidation (Gutiérrez and Marin, 1993; Huchzermeyer et al., 1994; Gutiérrez et al., 1998). When the bacilli escape from the primary foci they travel via the lymph and blood streams, becoming lodged in other organs and tissues where they establish other tubercles. When the blood stream is invaded by numerous tubercle bacilli from a local lesion, many tubercles develop in the major organs. The acute form of generalization, known as miliary tuberculosis, is often rapidly fatal.

If small numbers of bacilli enter the circulation from the primary complex, more isolated lesions develop in other organs. These generalized lesions may become encapsulated and remain small for extended periods, usually causing no detectable signs (Nieberle and Cohrs, 1966; Thoen and Himes, 1986; Huchzermeyer et al., 1994). The evolution of the lesion from early infection of the lung macrophage, to the development of caseous nodules, calcification and liquidation, as well as the regression or progression of the lesion and possible generalization, depends on the immune host bacilli balance (Dannenberg, 1989). Different types of lesion, immune response and amount of bacilli can be expected. It has been defined as an immunopathological spectrum of mycobacterial infections (Ridley, 1983).

The general signs are weakness, anorexia, dyspnea, emaciation and low-grade fluctuating fever. In mammals, the organs of the thoracic cavity are usually involved. When the lungs are extensively involved, there is commonly an intermittent, hacking cough mainly after exercise. The principal sign of tuberculosis is wasting or emaciation that occurs despite good nutrition (Nieberle and Cohrs, 1966; Gutiérrez and Marin, 1993; Huchzermeyer et al., 1994; Gutiérrez et al., 1998).


Cattle


Early lesions are usually found in the chest and sometimes in the lymph nodes of the head or intestines (Nieberle and Cohrs, 1966; Corner, 1994; Huchzermeyer et al., 1994). In advanced stages of the disease, lesions may be found in many organs and tissues that are seldom affected, including lesions in the udder, intestine, uterus, lymph nodes, kidneys, liver and the meninges with varying frequency. The skeletal muscles are very seldom affected, even in advanced cases. Tuberculosis of the udder is of special significance because of the contamination of milk with viable tubercle bacilli.


Sheep


M. bovis may cause lesions similar to those observed in cattle. Evidence for generalization of the disease includes the presence of lesions in the lungs, bronchial and mediastinal lymph nodes as well as spleen and kidney (Whipple et al., 1992). M. avium can also produce pulmonary lesions in sheep.


Birds


Tuberculosis is a slowly spreading, chronic, granulomatous bacterial infection of chickens and captive exotic birds. It is characterized by gradual weight loss (Feldman, 1938).

Epidemiology

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Cattle


This disease used to be very prevalent, particularly in dairy cattle, but control programmes have greatly reduced the incidence in many countries. A number of countries have virtually eradicated tuberculosis from cattle (O’Reilly and Daborn, 1995). However, several countries have not eradicated bovine tuberculosis and the control programme is being investigated. This includes the UK and Irish Republic. In these countries the eradication programme consists of testing cattle using the comparative skin test and culling positive reactor cattle and detection of infected cattle in abattoirs. In both situations contact cattle are traced and tested. There has been much research into the failure to eliminate bovine TB in these countries. In both countries a wildlife reservoir, the badger, is associated with bovine tuberculosis in cattle. In countries where bovine TB is considered eradicated (such as France and The Netherlands) cattle carcasses are monitored at the abattoir and backward tracing is done when a confirmed cases is detected. The whole herd is culled once it is confirmed exposed to Mycobacterium bovis. The source of infection is usually other infected cattle.

Tuberculous animals with open lung lesions expel infected droplets into the air by coughing. Such animals also swallow sputum and thus contaminate pasture, water and cowsheds via the faeces. Adult animals are infected by the inhalation of airborne dust particles as well as by ingestion of contaminated feed or water. Drinking contaminated milk may infect young calves (Huchzermeyer et al., 1994).


Pigs


Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. bovis and M. avium have been isolated from swine with tuberculous lesions. Outbreaks of M. tuberculosis in swine have been associated with the feeding of uncooked garbage from hospitals or residences housing human cases. Regulations in many developed countries require that garbage be cooked before being fed to animals. Enforcement of these regulations has contributed to the reduction of disease caused by M. tuberculosis. Since tuberculous humans can spread disease directly to pigs by sputum or body excretions, they should not be allowed to care for swine.


Sheep


Tuberculosis is rare in sheep, including in areas where tuberculosis is frequently observed in other species, such as cattle and goats (Cordes, 1981; Allen, 1988). However, evidence of transmission from cattle and goats has been observed (Cordes, 1981; Gutiérrez et al., 1997).


Birds


Mycobacterium avium ss avium serovars 1 and 2 are the usual cause (Meissner et al., 1978; Thoen, 1997). M. avium is very resistant, surviving in the soil for as long as 4 years or more. The disease occurs worldwide, most commonly in small barnyard flocks and in birds in zoo aviaries (Montali et al., 1976). It is rarely found in pullet flocks. Wild birds, such as cranes, sparrows, starlings and raptors, have been found infected (Thoen, 1993; Thoen, 1994a,b: Thoen, 1998).

Infected birds with advanced lesions excrete the organism in their faeces. Cadavers and offal may infect predators and cannibalistic flockmates. Rabbits, swine and mink are readily infected. Cattle may become sensitized to M. bovis PPD tuberculin and to M. avium PPD tuberculin. Certain serovars of M. avium may cause disease in man and the lesions are usually limited.

Disease Treatment

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Until the discovery of the antituberculosis drug isonicotinic acid hydrazide (INH) there was no practical therapeutic agent available for the treatment of bovine tuberculosis. Reports from Brazil and South Africa suggest that it is feasible to treat cattle with isoniazid. The disadvantages are so great, however (up to 25% refractory cases, emergence of drug resistant strains, elimination of INH in the milk and the danger of relapse when the drug is withdrawn) that the treatment of bovine tuberculosis is not allowed in the United States or in many other countries.

Prevention and Control

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Cattle


The main reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis is cattle, however, badgers, buffalo, cervids, goat, cats, possums and feral pigs can be infected (Parra et al., 2006; Cleaveland et al., 2005). In the UK and Irish Republic intervention studies where badgers have been culled from certain areas and not others indicate a reduction in bovine TB reactors where badgers are removed (Griffin et al., 2005; More and Good, 2006). However, the relationship between badgers and cattle is not straight forward and partial culling of badgers has been proposed to exacerbate bovine TB (Donnelly et al., 2003; Donnelly et al., 2006). There is also evidence that bovine TB is circulated by cattle movements (Gilbert et al., 2005; Green and Cornell, 2005). Other countries also have a named wildlife reservoir. In New Zealand the possum (Coleman and Cooke, 2001) and in the USA the white tailed deer (O'Brien et al., 2002) are considered to be a major risk for infection in cattle. In UK, studies have indicated that many other wildlife species are infected with M. bovis, but the risk to cattle is unknown.

There are four principal approaches to the control of tuberculosis:



  1. test and slaughter
  2. test and segregation
  3. immunization
  4. chemotherapy.

The test-and-slaughter method consists of the application of the tuberculin test and the slaughter of reacting animals. This method has been widely used in the USA, Canada and Australia and in most European countries.

While BCG (Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin) vaccine is an immunizing agent used in humans in some high-risk areas, it does not completely prevent infection in cattle. Moreover, vaccinated cattle react on the tuberculin skin test. Countries that attempted to use vaccination as the basis of a control program have ultimately abandoned the procedure in favour of the test-and-slaughter method. It should be noted that there is some interest in the development of new DNA vaccines.


Birds


Chemotherapy is not effective. In commercial poultry flocks, relatively rapid turnover of populations, together with improved general sanitation, has largely eliminated the once common infection. Infected poultry should be destroyed. If housed, the facilities should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using cresylic compounds. Dirt-floored houses should have several inches of the floor removed and replaced with dirt from a place where poultry have not been maintained. All openings should be screened against wild birds. It is best not to reuse ranges where tuberculous poultry have been kept. Avian tuberculosis in birds in zoo aviaries is difficult to eradicate. New additions to the aviary should be quarantined for 60 to 90 days.

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Links to Websites

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American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD)http://www.aavld.org/
Capacity Building for Surveillance and Control of Zoonotic Diseaseshttp://www.fao.org/docrep/009/a0083e/a0083e00.htmFAO Animal Production and Health Proceedings 7
CFSPH: Animal Disease Informationhttp://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/DiseaseInfo/index.php"Animal Disease Information" provides links to various information sources, including fact sheets and images, on over 150 animal diseases of international significance.
Integrated Control of Neglected Zoonoses (ICONZ)http://www.iconzafrica.org/ICONZ aims to tackle eight neglected zoonoses - Anthrax, Bovine Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Cysticercosis, Echinococcosis, Leishmaniasis, Rabies and Human African Trypanosomiasis. The website provides information about the project and links to resources.
OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animalshttp://www.oie.int/en/international-standard-setting/terrestrial-manual/access-online/The Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals (Terrestrial Manual) aims to facilitate international trade in animals and animal products and to contribute to the improvement of animal health services world-wide. The principal target readership is laboratories carrying out veterinary diagnostic tests and surveillance, plus vaccine manufacturers and regulatory authorities in Member Countries. The objective is to provide internationally agreed diagnostic laboratory methods and requirements for the production and control of vaccines and other biological products.
OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Codehttp://www.oie.int/en/international-standard-setting/terrestrial-code/access-online/The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code sets out standards for the improvement of terrestrial animal health and welfare and veterinary public health worldwide, including through standards for safe international trade in terrestrial animals and their products. The health measures in the Terrestrial Code should be used by the veterinary authorities of importing and exporting countries to provide for early detection, reporting and control agents pathogenic to terrestrial animals and, in the case of zoonoses, for humans, and to prevent their transfer via international trade in terrestrial animals and terrestrial animal products, while avoiding unjustified sanitary barriers to trade.

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