Failure to identify non-bovine reservoirs of Mycobacterium bovis in a region with a history of infected dairy-cattle herds.
Additional Document Info
The State of Texas had the most (cumulative) tuberculous cattle herds of any state in the United States during the decade ending in 1997. Of the cumulative 18 infected herds in Texas, 12 herds were concentrated in El Paso County (designated the 'El Paso milkshed'). To identify whether non-bovine reservoirs were a source of Mycobacterium bovis infection of cattle in this region, an investigation was conducted on the premises of 14 dairy herds (12 tuberculous and 2 non-affected herds) between May 1995 and June 1997. None of the 670 mammalian, avian and environmental (soil, water and air) samples collected and cultured from the premises of these herds was positive for the presence of M. bovis. None of the 119 human urine samples obtained from employees of these dairies was culture positive for M. bovis. Of 124 dairy-farm workers with tuberculin skin-test results, 48 showed positive test results. There was, however, no difference in percentages of positive skin-test results between farms without, and farms having, bovine tuberculosis within the last two years or longer. The percentage of positive reactions did not increase with length of time employed at a dairy with a history of confirmed tuberculosis. These findings suggest that non-bovine reservoirs appear not to be a factor responsible for tuberculosis of cattle in the El Paso milkshed.