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Animal tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium TB complex (MTBC) species, is a chronic zoonotic disease mainly affecting cattle. However, it can also cause disease in humans and a wide range of other animal species (OIE 2009). The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is the third animal species, followed by cattle and goats, in number of MTBC isolates in Spain (Rodriguez-Campos and others 2012). Thus, it is considered to be the main wild reservoir of TB (Naranjo and others 2008, Garcia-Bocanegra and others 2012). The domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica) accounts for 1 per cent of Spanish MTBC isolates from animals in the period 1996–2011 (Rodriguez-Campos and others 2012). Recent TB outbreaks in domestic pigs due to MTBC have also been reported in Italy (Di Marco and others 2012). There are, however, other opportunistic mycobacteria that can cause TB-like lesions in swine, indistinguishable from those caused by MTBC.
Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) comprises a number of non-zoonotic pathogenic bacterial species with various degrees of pathogenicity and host preference (Álvarez and others 2011). M avium is subdivided in four subspecies: M avium subsp. avium (MAA), M avium subsp. silvaticum, M avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP), and M avium subsp. hominisuis (MAH). MAA is known to cause generalised granulomatous lesions in poultry and wild birds; MAP is the causative agent of Johne's disease in ruminants, while pigs are the primary animal host for MAH (Thorel and others 2001, Mijs and others 2002, Wellenberg and others …