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Prevalence and spatial distribution of bovine tuberculosis in brushtail possums on a forest-scrub margin

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Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis was diagnosed in 36 of 68 (53%) brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) trapped in August 1992 from a population of exceptionally low density (trap catch <3%) on a forest-scrub margin in Westland, New Zealand. The prevalence of tuberculosis in possums, based solely on gross lesions, was at least twice that previously recorded in New Zealand, and was about seven times that recorded from the same population in 1980. More male (66%) than female (33%) possums had grossly visible tuberculous lesions. The distribution of infection appeared continuous along the forest-scrub margin. Both stoats (Mustela erminea) and one of six hares (Lepus europaeus occidentalis) trapped were also infected with M. bovis.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Mycobacterium; Possum; Tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1994

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