Cow TB may spread between people
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – British investigators describe 20 cases of humans being infected with Mycobacterium bovis, a type of tuberculosis normally confined to cattle. In six instances, the outbreak appears to have resulted from person-to-person transmission.
This report “emphasizes the need to maintain control measures for human and bovine tuberculosis,” Dr. Jason T. Evans, from the West Midlands Public Health Laboratory in Birmingham, UK, and colleagues note in The Lancet medical journal. “Transmission and subsequent disease was probably due to a combination of host and environmental factors.”
The researchers performed DNA fingerprinting of all tuberculosis cases that arose in central England between 2001 and 2005. Of the 20 cases that were due to M. bovis, a cluster of six were genetically identical.