Mycobacterium bovis: the importance of milk and dairy products as a cause of human tuberculosis in the UK. A review of taxonomy and culture methods, with particular reference to artisanal cheeses

Authors

  • MICHAEL T ROWE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Food Microbiology Branch, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, UK and
    2. Food Microbiology Department, The Queen's University of Belfast, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, UK
      *Author for correspondence. E-mail: michael.rowe@afbini.gov.uk
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  • JOHN DONAGHY

    1. Food Microbiology Branch, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, UK and
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*Author for correspondence. E-mail: michael.rowe@afbini.gov.uk

Abstract

Mycobacterium bovis is the cause of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle and other ruminants. It can also cause tuberculosis in humans, and consumption of unpasteurized milk or products made from infected and untreated animals is thought to be the primary vehicles of transmission. Although a control programme for cattle exists in the UK, the disease is becoming more prevalent in the cattle population. The increasing interest in artisan cheeses made from unpasteurized milk and recent cases of human TB in which cheese was the known cause has highlighted the need for empirical data on the survival kinetics of M. bovis during the manufacture and ripening of such cheeses.

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