Article Text

Pathology of natural Mycobacterium bovis infection in European badgers (Meles meles) and its relationship with bacterial excretion
  1. D. Gavier-Widen, DVM,NIS, PhD1,1,
  2. M. A. Chambers, PhD1,
  3. N. Palmer, BVetMed, MSc1,
  4. D. G. Newell, PhD1 and
  5. R. G. Hewinson, DPhil1
  1. 1 Veterinary Laboratories Agenicy — Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB


Sixteen European badgers (Meles meles) from three statutory removal operations were studied. Samples of tracheal aspirate, pooled lymph nodes and urine were cultured for mycobacteria. Seven of the badgers were infected with Mycobacterium bovis and had tuberculous pulmonary lesions which varied in severity from extensive granulomatous consolidation to microgranulomas which were not detectable grossly. Tuberculous lesions were also observed in the upper respiratory airways, intestines, kidneys, spleen, liver, thymus, pleura and lymph nodes. One badger had tuberculous bite wounds. The histopathological characteristics of the tuberculous reactions and the associated tissue damage in various organs, together with the gross pathology, indicate that both mildly and severely infected badgers have the potential to excrete M bovis by several routes.

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  • Dr Gavier-Widen's present address is Division of Wildlife, National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Box 7073, S-75007, Sweden

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