Isolation and molecular characterization of Mycobacterium bovis from Kafue lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) from Zambia
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- Malama, S., Johansen, T.B., Muma, J.B. et al. Trop Anim Health Prod (2014) 46: 153. doi:10.1007/s11250-013-0466-4
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Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is a chronic bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis. Infections due to M. bovis, which serves as a stable reservoir, can pose serious challenge to control and eradicate in both wildlife and livestock at the interface. This study aimed at isolating and characterizing M. bovis from Kafue lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) and black lechwe (Kobus leche smithemani) at the animal/human interface in Zambia. The samples with lesions compatible with BTB collected during the hunting seasons of 2009 and 2010 were cultured for isolation of mycobacteria using Stonebrink with pyruvate (BD Diagnostics, MD, USA) and Middlebrook 7H10 (BD Diagnostics) slants. Isolated mycobacteria were identified using IS6110 polymerase chain reaction and deletion analysis. Molecular characterization of the isolates was performed using spoligotyping and mycobacteria interspersed repetitive unit–variable number tandem repeat (MIRU–VNTR) with nine loci. Data was analyzed using BioNumerics software 6.1. Out of the 39 samples, acid fast bacilli were detected in 27 (69.2 %) based on smear microscopy. Seven isolates were found to belong to Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, and all were identified as M. bovis based on deletion analysis. All seven isolates were identical on spoligotyping as belonging to the SB0120 (SIT 482). MIRU–VNTR differentiated the isolates into five different patterns. This study has confirmed that M. bovis circulates in the Kafue lechwe, and non-tuberculous mycobacteria were detected in the black lechwe in Zambia which represents a wildlife reservoir, with a potential to spillover to cattle and humans. Isolates of M. bovis from lechwe antelopes are much conserved as only one spoligotype was detected. The study has shown that three loci differentiated fairly well. This option is cheap and less laborious, and hence a better option in resource-strained country like Zambia. The study further showed that some of the loci recommended by the European Reference Laboratory are not suitable for typing M. bovis in Zambia.