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Bovine Tuberculosis

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks

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Re: BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS

Unread postby Danie » Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:07 am

A lot has been written on this subject and it is really a very wide field.
Our Scientific Services (research department) is involved in various projects and some information on BTB can be found in the Project Report (2003) document here (in PDF-format): Project Report
Look on page 25, 27, 28, 72, 112, 120 of the project report (2003) for information on projects on this subject.

You can also have a look here:
Current Report

In both documents you will find e-mail addresses of the researchers you can contact for research purposes.
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Bovine T.B.

Unread postby bwana » Thu Jan 27, 2005 8:57 am

Danie/KNP Spokesperson: Can you please let us know about the research that is being done on the Buffalo in the park. Also has there been a census on the lion prides and how many males have been lost to the disease. That is obviously the most concerning point. One of the ranger said to us that there is a noticable decline in lions and the cause is T.B.

Secondly, what happened with the big skandaal with the KNP representitive who had money in breeding disease free buffalo. How is that project coming along?

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Re: TB

Unread postby Tabs » Sat Mar 05, 2005 8:27 pm

wendyp wrote:Can someone please tell me that if lions have TB, will they be able to pass it on to their cubs?


Evidence appears to be inconclusive at the moment - lions usually contract TB from infected meat (mainly buffalo but also Kudu and a couple of other ungulate species) - but Tuberculous lesions have been found in the mammary tissue of some infected lionesses.
I don't know if there is any evidence that the disease can be passed on through milk and I have not (yet) seen anything to suggest that this happens.

It is also believed that the disease may be transferred via nasal droplets or skin wounds when a pride members are fighting over a carcass - and some opinions appear to be that without infected prey species present, the disease would eventually come to a 'dead-end' among carnivores.

Once the cubs begin to be weaned of course, they would be as prone to the disease as the adults are.
Weaning starts at 3 months of age and they are normally fully weaned by 7 months, so are still quite small when the 'risk factor' comes into play.

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Unread postby Twiga » Sun Mar 06, 2005 9:33 am

As far as I can remember, it's the male lions who are most susceptible to the TB as the disease is found in the abdominal organs of the animal and the male will eat first from the carcass, choosing all the lovely soft meat of the organs.
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Unread postby KNP Spokesman » Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:14 am

Dear Forum Members

The KNP Veterinary Services and the Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services are presently researching the state of Bovine TB in the Park extensively and I can report the following:
* It was first picked up in the KNP in 1991;
* It is believed to have come from cattle in the Lowveld areas, and originally from Europe;
* It is most prevalent in the South, and it is moving towards the North;
* The main host population is definitely buffalo, and thus the focus of our efforts will be on this species;
* It transfers from one buffalo to another via aerosol close contact;
* It mostly manifests itself in the lymph glands in the throat and the lungs.

Presently, we are busy with the following efforts:
* Monitoring the disease:
Since 2002, we have had a biannual survey of buffalo in the north of the Park where the disease is least detectable. During the 1990s, SANParks did 3 general surveys of all buffalo herds in the KNP. Further monitoring will take place this July.
The 2003 survey revealed:
60% of the population of the Southern region are infected;
20 - 40% of the population of the Central region are infected;
5 - 20% of the population of the Northern region are infected;
less than 5% of the population of the Far North region are infected.
This survey also showed the first occurance of the disease in the Far North, with a lone buffalo testing positive near Punda Maria.
* BTB-free breeding programme:
Aim is to get a viable population free of diseases. Animals are translocated to Vaalbos and Marakele national parks.
* Testing and evaluating vaccine:
Vaccine - similar to that used in humans - needs to be thoroughly tested. This is a long term project.

We will probably do a BTB prevalence survey among the lion population this year, but there has been research in the past on this. More later ...

Hope this helps.

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman

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Unread postby jaapvandijk » Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:14 pm

Wow, :shock:
thats realy interesting KNP Spokesman.
If they come up with a good vaccin to treat BTB, how will they than vaccinate the buffalo's? will they even do this or will they only vaccinate the lions?
If so, this would cost a great amount of money :!:
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Unread postby bwana » Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:42 pm

Funnily enough, I watched the programme Park Life on Animal Planet or N.G.C. yesterday. I'm not sure how long ago it was filmed, but it seems recent. It was about the TB buffalo in the park and particularly about the herds in the north of the park. They managed to test individuals from 15 herds, expecting 2 herds to carry the virus. Unfortunately for them they found 5 of the 15 herds carrying TB. The ranger in charge ended by saying these pertinent words: "We haven't been able to cure TB in humans, so it will be much harder than we anticipated."

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What may have been done?

Unread postby wildjohn » Thu Mar 10, 2005 10:40 pm

To nip in the bud the problem of and advancing column of high prevalence tb infected buffaloes in Park, a temp fence could have have been erected from narrowest width ie. Orpen - Nwanetsi (60 km ?) Then the north would be free, if it were earlier enough say 1992-1993. Then all should have been wiped out in the south, that were half infected. Once the operation was complete the temporary fence could be removed, to allow natural dispersal from N to S to repopulate with disease free herds. That fencing cost would be the same as current research efforts and vaccination drug testing, and administration, and not too mention the capital involve in breeding disease freee buffalo at Skukuza. in hindsight it would have to have been a rapid decision and would have met with controversy.

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Unread postby KNP Spokesman » Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:20 pm

jaapvandijk wrote:If they come up with a good vaccin to treat BTB, how will they than vaccinate the buffalo's? will they even do this or will they only vaccinate the lions?
If so, this would cost a great amount of money :!:


Hi Jaapvandijk

The problem is that if you try and solve the situation with the lions, there is nothing stopping them hunting another buffalo and then BTB will come back to the lions anyway.
We still believe our focus should be on the buffalo population with additional research on other species.
A delivery system is also one of the things that needs to be researched, but we still researching the vaccine itself. It is the same vaccine that the New Zealand Conservationists have recently had successes with deer, which were also infected with BTB (again from the same source).

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman

PS Sorry I have only responded now, but I couldn't find this thread. :oops:

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Unread postby Loams » Sun Jun 05, 2005 7:50 pm

Krokodile wrote: The programme we saw said that there was no test for tb on live animals. Is this really the case?


No, Dr Keet has a test that he developed himself. I think I know which program you are talking about. I've seen it before.Wasn't it on a episode of Parklife Africa?

Anyway, Dr Keet does the following:
He shaves the hair off on a small patch on the animal
He injects a fluid that contains the BovTB virus just under the skin
He recaptures the animal about 72hrs later
If the patch is inflamed, the animal is infected, If not the animal isn't

I am so sad about the state of the Lions. We were very lucky over easter though. With all our Lion sightings, none of them were in bad condition. In fact they were in great condition.
Last edited by Loams on Sun Jun 05, 2005 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Freda » Sun Jun 05, 2005 7:50 pm

On 50/50 they darted lions to test them but the problem was that they had to re-test them 72 hours later and they couldn't keep them contained as it was too stressful for them.
(Hope I've got this correct as my Afrikaans isn't the best)

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Unread postby francoisd » Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:19 am

The test shown on the 50/50 program is called the tuberculin test and more specific the caudal-fold tuberculin test. This test is routinely use to test cattle for TB and the procedure is basically the same for TB testing used for humans and other animals. Dr Keet just applied an existing test to testing lions for TB. Follow this link to a PDF document on Caudal-fold Tuberculin test or else visit this website that will also supply you with some information regardingthis test.
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Unread postby Guinea Pig » Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:11 am

Was this crisis created by humans or is it a natural occurrence? :?

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Unread postby kwenga » Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:45 am

No GP it is introduced by humans. Domestic cattle brought in from Europe were carriers of the disease

Well, tuberculosis is endemic in nearly every part of the world and spreads easily to all warm blooded animals including humans, so the main problem is probably the close vincinity of infected livestock/wild animals and humans. The microorganism itself is around much longer than humans and infectious diseases have caused and still do cause losses of live in humans and animals everywhere. With some clever ideas we may win some battles, but infectious agents nearly always get one step ahead. Sad but true.

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Unread postby Loams » Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:06 pm

I found these quite interesting:

Definition of Bovine Tuberculosis

More Bov TB info Scroll down a bit to after the elephant insert

FAQ on Bov TB
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