Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 38, Number 3, May-June 2007
Page(s) 451 - 464
Published online 11 April 2007
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2007) 451-464
Vet. Res. 38 (2007) 451-464
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2007002

Risk factors associated with the prevalence of tuberculosis-like lesions in fenced wild boar and red deer in south central Spain

Joaquín Vicentea, b, c, Ursula Höflea, Joseba M. Garridod, Isabel G. Fernández-de-meraa, Pelayo Acevedoa, Ramón Justed, Marta Barrald and Christian Gortazara

a  Instituts de Investigación en Recursos cinegéticos - IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13080 Ciudad Real, Spain
b  Ciudad Real Agricultural Engineering School (UCLM), Ronda de Calatrava 7, 13004 Ciudad Real, Spain
c  Present address: Wildlife Disease Ecology Team, Central Science Laboratory, Tinkley Lane, Nympsfield, GL103UJ Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
d  NEIKER Instituto Vasco de I+D Agraria, C./Berreaga 1, 48300 Derio, Spain

(Received 27 January 2006; accepted 19 October 2006 ; published online 11 April 2007)

Abstract - In recent decades the management of large game mammals has become increasingly intensive in south central Spain (SCS), resulting in complex epidemiological scenarios for disease maintenance, and has probably impeded schemes to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) in domestic livestock. We conducted an analysis of risk factors which investigated associations between the pattern of tuberculosis-like lesions (TBL) in wild boar (Sus scrofa) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) across 19 hunting estates from SCS and an extensive set of variables related to game management, land use and habitat structure. The aggregation of wild boar at artificial watering sites was significantly associated with an increasing risk of detecting TBL in both species, which probably relates to enhanced opportunities for transmission. Aggregation of wild boar at feeding sites was also associated with increased risks of TBL in red deer. Hardwood Quercus spp. forest availability was marginally associated with an increased risk of TB in both species, whereas scrubland cover was associated with a reduced individual risk of TBL in the wild boar. It is concluded that management practices that encourage the aggregation of hosts, and some characteristics of Mediterranean habitats could increase the frequency and probability of both direct and indirect transmission of TB. These findings are of concern for both veterinary and public health authorities, and reveal tuberculosis itself as a potential limiting factor for the development and sustainability of such intensive game management systems in Spanish Mediterranean habitats.

Key words: Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex / red deer / risk factors / tuberculosis / wild boar

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2007