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1 April 2014 Isolation of Mycobacterium caprae (Lechtal Genotype) from Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) in Italy
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During tuberculosis (TB) surveillance, 53 hunted red deer (Cervus elaphus) were collected to determine whether TB was present in free-ranging animals from an Italian alpine area. Samples (lungs, liver, intestine, and lymph nodes) were cultured and analyzed by real-time PCR assay carried out directly on tissue. Mycobacterium caprae was isolated from small granulomatous, tuberculosis-like lesions in the liver of a 12-yr-old female. Identification of suspect colonies was done by PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the gyrb gene, and genotyping was performed by spoligotyping and mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit variable number tandem repeat analysis. The isolated strain was genetically identical to strains isolated in the study area in 2001 from dairy cows imported from Austria and in 2010 from an indigenous cow. The genotype, called “Lechtal,” is the most frequently detected in the TB outbreaks in Austria and Germany. The possibility that red deer act as a maintenance host of M. caprae between TB outbreaks could be not excluded. Despite the high red deer population density, the detection of only one infected red deer could suggest that the wildlife management measures applied in the study area (prohibition of artificial feeding and secure removal of offal from hunted animals) may reduce the risk of TB spreading.

Wildlife Disease Association 2014
Mario Chiari, M. Zanoni, L. G. Alborali, G. Zanardi, D. Avisani, S. Tagliabue, A. Gaffuri, M. L. Pacciarini, and M. B. Boniotti "Isolation of Mycobacterium caprae (Lechtal Genotype) from Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) in Italy," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 50(2), 330-333, (1 April 2014).
Received: 10 May 2013; Accepted: 1 August 2013; Published: 1 April 2014

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