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Environmental Mycobacterium and bovine tuberculosis

Current projects:

Understanding M. bovis transmission by badgers

A series of collaborative studies including:

(i) diagnostic surveys of badgers across the RoI to quantify the heterogeneities in badger excretion of M. bovis into the environment, as a surrogate of infectiousness, relative to infection outcomes.

(ii) evaluation study of the efficacy of BCG vaccine given to badges in a randomised field trial in RoI to reduce M. bovis excretion in faeces as surrogate of potential transmission.

(iii) development of “roll-out” strategies to cost-effectively sample badger faecal latrines to detect excretion of M. bovis into the environment.

Biogeography of environmental Mycobacterium

Pyrosequencing studies were conducted to characterised and quantify environmental Mycobacterium communities, in particular known pathogenic taxa, in human and animal soil and water sources across bio-geographical ecotypes of Ethiopia. This represents a first step in elucidating significant Mycobacterium taxa causing variations in subsequent human BCG vaccine efficacy.

Mycobacterium at the human /livestock /wildlife interface

Studies to examine the human/livestock interface of environmental reservoirs of pathogenic Mycobacterium in Massai communities in Tanzania.

Personnel: E. Wellington, E. Travis, H. King, A. Hung
Collaborators: E. Gormley (UCD, RoI),R. Delahay (AHVLA), and A. Alffesa (ARHI, Ethiopia)