Traditionally, tuberculosis has been viewed as a primarily human disease. Recent studies have found other sources of Mycobacterium tuberculosis among animal populations including elephants, meerkats, dogs and baboons. A related bacterium that can also cause disease in humans, M. bovis, is running rampant in cattle in parts of Africa. Given these findings, scientists are beginning to approach tuberculosis not just as a disease of humans but a zoonosis (a disease transmitted between humans and animals). Participants on this panel present approaches for monitoring the disease in zoological parks and in the wild as well as research suggesting for the first time that M. tuberculosis can infect cattle after all.
Glyn Hewinson, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, Addlestone, United Kingdom
Michelle Miller, Palm Beach Zoo, West Palm Beach, FL, United States