Intradermal tuberculin testing of wild African lions ( Panthera leo) naturally exposed to infection with Mycobacterium bovis

African lions in the southern half of Kruger National Park (KNP) are infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Historically, reliable detection of mycobacteriosis in lions was limited to necropsy and microbiological analysis of lesion material collected from emaciated and ailing or repeat-offender lions. W...

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Published in: Veterinary microbiology Vol. 144; no. 3; pp. 384 - 391
Main Authors: Keet, D.F, Michel, A.L, Bengis, R.G, Becker, P, van Dyk, D.S, van Vuuren, M, Rutten, V.P.M.G, Penzhorn, B.L
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Published: Netherlands Elsevier B.V 2010
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Summary: African lions in the southern half of Kruger National Park (KNP) are infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Historically, reliable detection of mycobacteriosis in lions was limited to necropsy and microbiological analysis of lesion material collected from emaciated and ailing or repeat-offender lions. We report on a method of cervical intradermal tuberculin testing of lions and its interpretation capable of identifying natural exposure to M. bovis. Infected lions ( n = 52/95) were identified by detailed necropsy and mycobacterial culture. A large proportion of these confirmed infected lions (45/52) showed distinct responses to bovine tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) while responses to avian tuberculin PPD were variable and smaller. Confirmed uninfected lions from non-infected areas ( n = 11) responded variably to avian tuberculin PPD only. Various non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) were cultured from 45/95 lions examined, of which 21/45 were co-infected with M. bovis. Co-infection with M. bovis and NTM did not influence skin reactions to bovine tuberculin PPD. Avian tuberculin PPD skin reactions were larger in M. bovis-infected lions compared to uninfected ones. Since NTM co-infections are likely to influence the outcome of skin testing, stricter test interpretation criteria were applied. When test data of bovine tuberculin PPD tests were considered on their own, as for a single skin test, sensitivity increased (80.8–86.5%) but false positive rate for true negatives (18.75%) remained unchanged. Finally, the adapted skin test procedure was shown not to be impeded by persistent Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Ple co-infection.
ISSN: 0378-1135
1873-2542
DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2010.01.028