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Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo

On-line version ISSN 1678-9946


BOLANOS, Carmen Alicia Daza et al. Nontuberculous mycobacteria in milk from positive cows in the intradermal comparative cervical tuberculin test: implications for human tuberculosis infections. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo [online]. 2018, vol.60, e6.  Epub Feb 15, 2018. ISSN 1678-9946.

Although the tuberculin test represents the main in vivo diagnostic method used in the control and eradication of bovine tuberculosis, few studies have focused on the identification of mycobacteria in the milk from cows positive to the tuberculin test. The aim of this study was to identify Mycobacterium species in milk samples from cows positive to the comparative intradermal test. Milk samples from 142 cows positive to the comparative intradermal test carried out in 4,766 animals were aseptically collected, cultivated on Lowenstein-Jensen and Stonebrink media and incubated for up to 90 days. Colonies compatible with mycobacteria were stained by Ziehl-Neelsen to detect acid-fast bacilli, while to confirm the Mycobacterium genus, conventional PCR was performed. Fourteen mycobacterial strains were isolated from 12 cows (8.4%). The hsp65 gene sequencing identified M. engbaekii (n=5), M. arupense (n=4), M. nonchromogenicum (n=3), and M. heraklionense (n=2) species belong to the Mycobacterium terrae complex. Despite the absence of M. tuberculosis complex species in the milk samples, identification of these mycobacteria highlights the risk of pathogen transmission from bovines to humans throughout milk or dairy products, since many of mycobacterial species described here have been reported in pulmonary and extrapulmonary diseases both in immunocompetent and immunocompromised people.

Keywords : M. terrae complex; Bovine; Intradermal tuberculin tests; Sequencing.

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