Bovine tuberculosisBovine tuberculosis is a contagious, chronic disease caused by tuberculosis bacteria (Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium caprae).
© Bovine tuberculosis is widespread throughout the world. © Carola Schubbel – stock.adobe.com
Routes of infection
Tuberculosis is transmissible from animal to human, but also from human to animal, and thus belongs to the zoonoses. Infection usually occurs through the air (droplet infection). The disease is initially asymptomatic before tumorous changes and tumor-like nodules (tubercles) form in the lymph nodes and organs. In cattle, the disease very often occurs in the form of pulmonary tuberculosis. The duration of the disease may extend over years until it finally leads to death with severe emaciation. In the early stages, tuberculosis can be detected only with the help of specific examination procedures. In the advanced state of the disease, coughing, breathing difficulties, emaciation and loss of performance are signs of the disease.
Infections can also occur via ingestion of milk containing pathogens. However, mycobacteria are killed when milk is pasteurized, so ingesting pasteurized milk is not dangerous for humans.
Occurrence of tuberculosis worldwide
Bovine tuberculosis is widespread worldwide. In Europe, the disease is currently more prevalent in Spain, Ireland and Great Britain incl. the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland on.
Control of bovine tuberculosis in Germany
Bovine tuberculosis is an in Germany notifiable animal disease. The control regulations against the animal disease are laid down in the "Regulation for the protection against bovine tuberculosis – (Tuberculosis Regulation)" in the version of the announcement of 13. March 1997 (BGBl. IS. 462), as amended from time to time.
Bovine tuberculosis was successfully controlled in Germany from the 1950s to the 1970s through regular testing (tuberculin testing) and the appropriate measures taken. In 1997, Germany was granted the status of "officially tuberculosis-free". Since then, tuberculosis monitoring has been ensured through the meat inspection of slaughtered cattle. Nevertheless, it still happens that cattle are infected with the causative agent of tuberculosis, for example through contact with infected wild animals. To prevent the animal disease from spreading again in Germany in such cases, government control measures are being introduced. These include the examination of all cattle in the herd, the killing and destruction of diseased animals, and cleaning and disinfection measures.