The role of wildlife in tuberculosis epidemiology is being widely studied since it can affect the effectiveness of eradication campaigns in cattle. The health problem is enhanced when it concerns also wildlife welfare and biodiversity conservation. This study was performed to understand the epidemiology of Mycobacterium bovis population affecting livestock and wild animals in the Doñana National Park using bacteriology and molecular characterisation techniques. Tuberculosis research was performed on 1209 cattle and wild animals (artiodactyla and carnivore) collected over 6 years in the Park. One hundred and sixty-three animals were found to be infected with M. bovis, comprising 7.96% of the cattle and 20.53% of the wild animals tested. Spoligotyping revealed nine patterns, being SB1232 and SB1230 the most prevalent (77.30% and 15.34% of infected animals, respectively). MIRU-VNTR analysis of a selected panel of 92 isolates showed eight different profiles, including several spoligotypes within the same MIRU-VNTR profile. The discriminatory capacity of both techniques in this panel was similar. The results obtained by combination of both techniques corroborate that wildlife species are infected with the M. bovis strains which are more prevalent in cattle and reveal their persistence. Genotype variation between isolates strongly suggests micro-evolutionary events in the M. bovis population in the same area. This study in the Doñana National Park exposes the risk of introduction of domestic animals into wildlife areas when there is not a warranty of disease freedom, appropriate diagnostic techniques and control measures.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by projects AGL 2006-06206 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology and TB-STEP 212414 of the European Union, and by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. B. Romero is recipient of a research contract funded by Comunidad de Madrid (IV regional framework programme of research and technological innovation 2005–2008). We thank the guidelines and suggestions by partners of the EU coordination action “Veterinary European Network on Mycobacteria (VENoMYC)” during the WP7 workshop (Toledo, Spain, October 2006).
- DNA fingerprinting
- Molecular evolution
- Mycobacterium bovis
- Wild animals