"Two people in England have developed tuberculosis after contact with a domestic cat infected with Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), Public Health England (PHE) and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) have announced.
M. bovis is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB) in cattle (bovine TB) and in other species.
Nine cases of M. bovis infection in domestic cats in Berkshire and Hampshire were investigated by AHVLA and PHE during 2013. PHE offered TB screening to 39 people identified as having had contact with the infected cats as a precautionary measure. 24 contacts accepted screening.
Following further investigations, a total of two cases of active TB and two cases of latent TB were identified. Latent TB means they had been exposed to TB at some point but they did not have active disease. Both cases of active TB disease have confirmed infection with M. bovis and are responding to treatment."
Through AHVLA's diligent spoligotyping, the strain of mycobacterium bovis identified in the people infected in this outbreak, is exactly the same as the cat(s).
Could this cluster be the one mentioned in this posting - [link] of June last year?
Quoteed in the press release is Professor Noel Smith, Head of the Bovine TB Genotyping Group at AHVLA, who said:
“Testing of nearby herds revealed a small number of infected cattle with the same strain of M. bovis as the cats. However, direct contact of the cats with these cattle was unlikely considering their roaming ranges. The most likely source of infection is infected wildlife, but cat-to-cat transmission cannot be ruled out.”
This is not the first time we have mentioned cats - [link] in the same breath as 'bovine' tuberculosis - that name really does confuse many, hence our adoption of the bacterium's zoonotic principles.
Shed loads of sentinel dead reactor cattle are apparently acceptable - [link] (at least to the Badgerists) but it seems none too smart to shaft decades of MAAF / Defra's intransigence in dealing with wildlife reservoirs of this disease, on to the hard pressed NHS.
Not really a 'bovine' problem anymore, is it?