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Free Content Human tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis and M. caprae in Spain, 2004–2007

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OBJECTIVE: To identify the characteristics associated with human tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium bovis and M. caprae in Spain.

DESIGN: Retrospective study covering all M. bovis and M. caprae isolates identified at the National Mycobacterial Reference Laboratory (NRL) from 2004 to 2007. We studied the microbiological and epidemiological characteristics of patients and performed a genetic analysis of isolates.

RESULTS: The study covered 110 isolates (89 M. bovis and 21 M. caprae) that accounted for respectively 1.9% and 0.3% of the M. tuberculosis complex isolates available at the NRL. Data on risk of exposure to M. bovis or to M. caprae were available in 82 (74%) of the 110 cases, with 60 (73%) registering a probable or possible risk of exposure and 22 (27%) registering no risk. Probable exposure mainly included crop and livestock farmers, and possible exposure included patients born in countries with a high prevalence of bovine TB. Spoligotyping of strains yielded 36 different patterns, with SB0121, SB0134 and SB0157 being predominant.

CONCLUSIONS: In Spain, cases of human TB due to M. bovis and M. caprae represent a small proportion of all TB cases, and for a high percentage of cases this is linked to occupational exposure and coming from countries endemic for bovine TB.
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Keywords: Mycobacterium bovis; Mycobacterium caprae; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: National Centre for Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health, Madrid, Spain; Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology & Public Health, Madrid, Spain 2: Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology & Public Health, Madrid, Spain 3: National Microbiology Centre, Carlos III Institute of Health, Madrid, Spain 4: Miguel Servet University Hospital, Aragon Health Sciences Institute, Zaragoza, Spain; Consortium for Biomedical Research in Respiratory Diseases, Madrid, Spain 5: Consortium for Biomedical Research in Respiratory Diseases, Madrid, Spain; Department of Microbiology, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain

Publication date: 01 December 2009

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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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