Tuberculosis in animals and humansTuberculosis is a chronic, bacterial infectious disease of humans and animals. The course is usually progressive and generalized. Tuberculosis is transmissible to humans and therefore a zoonosis.
Cases in Austria, France and Italy. In cattle, the time between the infection can be a long time. The appearance of the first signs of the disease can take months to years. In a late phase of the disease, tuberculosis in cattle manifests itself as a chronic wasting disease with enlarged lymph nodes, fever episodes, decrease in milk yield and emaciation. However, these symptoms can also occur with other diseases. The diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis cannot be made conclusively without laboratory testing.
Wild animals (especially red deer, wild boar and badgers) can be so-called "reservoirs" be the tuberculosis agent. That is, the disease can persist, sometimes unnoticed, for long periods of time in free-ranging populations, leading to repeated infections in cattle. A transmission of tuberculosis pathogens between wild animals. Cattle is possible in both directions through direct animal contact or through contaminated water or feed.
Infection and spread
The pathogens that cause tuberculosis are different types of mycobacteria. Cattle are mainly carriers of Mycobacterium bovis or Mycobacterium caprae, while humans are mainly carriers of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis can be transmitted through direct animal contact or through contaminated water or feed. All mammals and humans can become infected. Bovine tuberculosis can be transmitted from animals to humans. This is most likely to occur through intensive contact between man. Animal in an advanced stage of the disease. In rare cases, humans can also infect cattle. Tuberculosis is a worldwide disease in mammals. Common in humans. In many industrialized countries, tuberculosis in farm animals has been controlled by intensive control programs. In recent years, in Europe, in cattle. Tuberculosis also increasingly detected in wild animals again.
There have also been isolated cases of bovine tuberculosis in Switzerland. Switzerland is still considered free of tuberculosis. An overview of the epidemic situation in Switzerland can be found in the Swiss Animal Disease Database.
Tuberculosis has not yet been detected in native wild animals (as of May 2015).
What to do?
The control of bovine tuberculosis is a protracted affair. The disease is often not recognized for a long time and cannot be diagnosed immediately and unequivocally in live animals. Tuberculosis is a disease that must be eradicated. Thus notifiable animal disease. Anyone who keeps or looks after animals must report suspected cases to the herd veterinarian.
Very important for the surveillance of tuberculosis are the meat inspections in the slaughterhouses. These controls are regulated by law. Are carried out by the cantonal enforcement authorities. The meat inspector takes samples from animals with suspicious signs of tuberculosis and has them examined in the laboratory.
The spread of bovine tuberculosis in wild animals in the alpine region is also increasingly monitored. Hunters and gamekeepers are required by animal disease legislation to report suspicious changes in wild animals that indicate tuberculosis to an official veterinarian.