Wildlife Disease and Zoonotics




Date of this Version



Published in JAVMA, Vol 224, No. 5, March 1, 2004.


Tuberculosis is a term that encompasses various diseases caused by bacteria of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, including M tuberculosis, M bovis, M africanum, and other mycobacterial species. Whereas M tuberculosis infection is largely spread from human to human, M bovis infection has been identified as a zoonotic disease with most cases of human infection attributable to animal sources. The mycobacteria other than tuberculosis complex (MOTT), which includes M avium subsp avium and M avium subsp intracellulare isolated from animals, has been isolated from immune-compromised humans (ie, those with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection), but seldom from immunocompetent humans. Recently, there has been increased interest among public health officials in drug-resistant strains of M tuberculosis, M bovis, and M avium because several have been isolated from HIV-infected and nonimmuno-compromised humans.