Most control programs for bovine tuberculosis include reporting to both veterinary and public health authorities, and measures to prevent transmission from animals to humans. On the other hand, reporting of human cases to veterinary authorities is rare, unless an animal source is suspected. Exchange of data and strategic discussions between veterinary and public health authorities would strengthen tuberculosis surveillance in both animal and human populations.
A One Health approach is clearly warranted for tuberculosis. The disease has similarly serious consequences for humans and a broad range of animal species, and it has been strongly advocated as a One Health issue (1). Yet, tuberculosis cases in humans and animals are commonly treated as separate problems (2, 3).
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC). “Bovine tuberculosis” usually means infection in cattle with Mycobacterium bovis (3, 4). However, this definition may be too restrictive, and the term bovine tuberculosis has been proposed to signify infection in cattle with any bacteria in the MTBC (5, 6). Similarly, “human tuberculosis” usually refers to infection in humans with M. tuberculosis, while “zoonotic tuberculosis” refers to human infection with M. bovis (7). However, for control and monitoring purposes, as well as a One Health approach, it would be preferable to use the terms “human tuberculosis” and “bovine tuberculosis” for infection with all bacteria within the MTBC in humans and cattle, respectively. Consequently, infections in other host species could be named after the host species, complemented by specifying the infecting bacterial species. In the following, the term “tuberculosis” is used for infection with bacteria within the MTBC, regardless of host species.
Mason N McLary
|Publication Title||Frontiers in Veterinary Science|