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Outbreak of Mycobacterium bovis infection in a wild animal park
  1. S-M. Schmidbauer, DrMedVet, PhD1,
  2. P. Wohlsein, DrMedVet, DipECVP1,
  3. G. Kirpal, DrMedVet2,
  4. A. Beineke, DrMedVet, DipECVP1,
  5. G. Müller, DrMedVet, DipECVP1,
  6. H. Müller, DrMedVet3,
  7. I. Moser, DrMedVet4 and
  8. W. Baumgartner, DrMedVet, DipECVP1
  1. 1 Department of Pathology
  2. 2 Department of Microbiology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Büntewege 17, 30173 Hannover, Germany
  3. 3 Wild Animal Park, ‘Schwarze Berge’, 21224 Rosengarten-Vahrendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  4. 4 National Veterinary Reference Laboratory for Tuberculosis, Friedrich-Loeffler Institute, Institute for Molecular Pathogenesis, Naumberger Strasse 96a, 07743 Jena, Germany
  1. Dr Schmidbauer's present address is Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Ohio State University, 1925 Coffey Road, Columbus, 43210 Ohio, USA
  2. Correspondence to Professor Baumgartner


An outbreak of tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis occurred in a wild animal park. Three pot-bellied pigs (Sus scrofa vittatus), one red deer (Cervus elaphus), one buffalo (Bison bonasus) and two European lynxes (Lynx lynx) were affected and showed clinical signs including weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes and paralysis of the hindlimbs. Postmortem examinations revealed multifocal granulomatous lesions in various organs, including the lymph nodes, lungs, intestines, kidneys and the central nervous system. Acid-fast organisms were demonstrated in various organs histologically and bacteriologically. Spoligotyping of 17 isolates from various organs of the affected animals confirmed an infection by M bovis and revealed an identical pattern indicating a common origin. The spoligotype was different from the pattern of M bovis recorded in the cattle population in Germany between 2000 and 2006. Investigations of sentinel animals such as an aged silver fox (Vulpes vulpes), a badger (Meles meles), a ferret (Mustela putorius) and rodents, and tuberculin skin tests of the animal attendants and randomly collected faecal samples from the enclosures were all negative for M bovis.

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