Tuberculosis is an infectious, chronic or acute, localized or disseminated granulomatous disease that affects all animal species, caused by members of the genus mycobacteria. In cattle, the disease is caused by obligatory pathogenic and opportunistic species of mycobacteria and is transmitted between animals mainly through inhalation. It is a major public health concern and humans are infected chiefly through consumption of raw animal products. The disease is characterized by progressive emaciation, which may be terminally fatal. Pathological lesions comprising of be caseous or calcified granulomas are found mainly in the respiratory tract but animals infected through ingestion develop lesions in the lymph nodes of the head and the mesentery. Lesions may disseminate to involve other internal organs and tissues. Histologically, lesions manifest typical granulomas with a necrotic center surrounded by inflammatory cells and a fibrous capsule. Diagnosis is based on history, clinical signs, antemortem tests, and postmortem examination. Culture, isolation, and identification of the organism are confirmatory tests. The disease is a listed under the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code and the main method of control is testing and slaughter of affected animals. The importance of the disease is the zoonosis, loss in productivity in affected animals, and the cost of control.
Part of the book: Bacterial Cattle Diseases