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Impacts of anthelmintic treatment on bovine TB infection in African buffalo

V. O. Ezenwa, A. E. Jolles

HELMINTH infections can impact on the immune responses of host animals. In laboratory studies of mice and non-human primates, helminth infections have been shown to affect host immunity in ways that alter the outcomes of bacterial infections. This study aimed to assess the effects of treatment with anthelmintics on bovine TB dynamics in Africa buffalo.

A group of 216 female African buffalo in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, were captured approximately every 182 days over a four-year period. At capture, the 108 buffalo in the treatment group were given an anthelmintic bolus, while controls were left untreated. Infection with Mycobacterium bovis and helminths was followed up in both groups, along with immunological parameters.

At the beginning of the study, all of the animals were bovine TB-free and the treatment and control groups had similar incidences of helminth infection (around half of the animals in each group). Following treatment, helminth infections were significantly lower in the treated group. Treatment with anthelmintics also had a significant impact on immune response, with animals in the treated group having much stronger interferon-γ responses than controls. Anthelmintic treatment did …

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