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Mycobacterium bovis infections in wild ferrets

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Bovine tuberculosis is one of the more important animal health problems in New Zealand. In contrast to a number of other countries, the classical test and slaughter methods in New Zealand have not led to the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. The failure to eradicate bovine tuberculosis is due to the continual spread of Mycobacterium bovis from wildlife to cattle and farmed deer. Although the Australian brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula is the most important wildlife reservoir of infection in New Zealand, M. bovis has also been isolated from wild deer, feral pigs, feral goats, feral cats and feral cattle. In this letter we wish to report the finding of M. bovis-infected wild ferrets (Mustelu putorius furo) in seven geographically distinct areas of New Zealand. While there are reports from overseas of M. bovis being isolated from domesticated ferrets, there are no reports of its isolation from wild ferrets or polecats (Mustela putorius). The first isolate of M. bovis from a New Zealand wild ferret was obtained in 1982…

Keywords: Epidemiology; Mycobacterium; Tuberculosis; Wildlife

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: September 1, 1993

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