• bovine tuberculosis;
  • Mycobacterium bovis;
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis;
  • mce-3 operon;
  • multiplex PCR;
  • reverse zoonosis


Bovine tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium bovis, remains one of the most important zoonotic health concerns worldwide. The transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from humans to animals also occurs especially in countries where there is close interaction of humans with the animals. In the present study, thirty bovine lung tissue autopsy samples from an organized dairy farm located in North India were screened for the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex by smear microscopy, histopathological findings and PCR. Differential diagnosis of M. tuberculosis and M. bovis was made based on the deletion of mce-3 operon in M. bovis. The present study found eight of these samples positive for M. tuberculosis by multiplex PCR. Sequencing was performed on two PCR-positive representative samples and on annotation, and BLAST analysis confirmed the presence of gene fragment specific to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The presence of M. tuberculosis in all the positive samples raises the possibility of human-to-cattle transmission and possible adaptation of this organism in bovine tissues. This study accentuates the importance of screening and differential diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in humans and livestock for adopting effective TB control and eradication programmes.