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Free Content Mycobacterium caprae in cattle and humans in Croatia

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SETTING: This paper describes an outbreak of human and related bovine tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium caprae in Croatia. A 13-year-old boy clinically presented enlargement of cervical lymph node with consecutive isolation of M. caprae. His 7-year-old sister, who had no clinical signs of disease, hyper-reacted to the purified protein derivative (PPD) test (>25 mm) and peribronchial infiltration was found by radiology. The children came from a family that ran a small-sized cattle dairy farm.

DESIGN: All cattle on the farm were subjected to cutaneous TB testing: six of the 14 reacted positive, while three were suspicious. The entire herd was slaughtered, their carcasses examined and collected material subjected to pertinent diagnostic procedures.

RESULTS: Gross examination findings consistent with TB were observed in the PPD-positive cows. Mycobacteria isolated from the boy and cattle were identified by classical and molecular methods, confirming M. caprae as the causative agent.

CONCLUSION: Although not bacteriologically proven, consumption of raw milk or non-pasteurised milk products from infected dairy cattle was suspected as the source of infection in humans. Our findings confirm the domination of M. caprae among cattle in Croatia and represent the first evidence of M. caprae infection in humans in Croatia.

Keywords: Croatia; Mycobacterium caprae; cattle; humans

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Croatian Veterinary Institute Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia 2: Croatian National Institute of Public Health, Zagreb, Croatia 3: Clinic for Respiratory Diseases of Children and Adolescents, Zagreb, Croatia

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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