Molecular Epidemiology ofMycobacterium bovisin Humans and Cattle

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Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), is a serious re-emerging disease in both animals and humans. The evolution of the Multi- and Extensively drug-resistant M. bovis strains (MDR-TB and XDR-TB) represents a global threat to public health. Worldwide, the disease is responsible for great economic losses in the veterinary field, serious threat to the ecosystem, and about 3.1% of human TB cases, up to 16% in Tanzania. Only thorough investigation to understand the pathogen's epidemiology can help in controlling the disease and minimizing its threat. For this purpose, various tools have been developed for use in advanced molecular epidemiological studies of bTB, either alone or in combination with standard conventional epidemiological approaches. These techniques enable the analysis of the intra- and inter-species transmission dynamics of bTB. The delivered data can reveal detailed insights into the source of infection, correlations among human and bovine isolates, strain diversity and evolution, spread, geographical localization, host preference, tracing of certain virulence factors such as antibiotic resistance genes, and finally the risk factors for the maintenance and spread of M. bovis. They also allow for the determination of epidemic and endemic strains. This, in turn, has a significant diagnostic impact and helps in vaccine development for bTB eradication programs. The present review discusses many topics including the aetiology, epidemiology and importance of M. bovis, the prevalence of bTB in humans and animals in various countries, the molecular epidemiology of M. bovis, and finally applied molecular epidemiological techniques.

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