Bovine TB still a risk to human health

Bovine tuberculosis represents an ongoing, though small, risk to human health in the UK, researchers say in the latest issue of Thorax.

Dr Dinesh Shrikrishna and colleagues report the case of a veterinary nurse infected with bovine TB, along with her daughter and pet dog. ‘This case demonstrates that human infection with Mycobacterium bovis [bovine TB] acquired in the UK is not a disease of the past,' the researchers say.

They add: ‘The potential for airborne transmission of Mycobacterium bovis, particularly to segments of the rural population, highlights the need for vigilance and effective collaboration between clinicians, animal and public health professionals in the management of this often forgotten infection.'

Dr Dinesh Shrikrishna and his team stress, however, that their case reports should not cause undue alarm. In the UK, bovine TB infections account for under 1% of laboratory-confirmed cases of TB in people, they point out.

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