Cows strike back (in Turkey)

Kira Stitt (11 AM Micro) came across this article about the dangers of other acid-fast bacteria, and the diseases that they can cause.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis complexes were studied in clinical setting in Istanbul, Turkey. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, also known as MTBC, is composed of Mycobacterium species that are closely related including M. tuberculosis, M. bovis, M. africanum, M. microti, and M. caprae. The goal of this study was to determine the distribution of the species in a main hospital in Turkey from 2007 – 2010.

The samples were acquired from 2,436 patients during the three years, and 188 strains of bacteria were collected. The DNA from the positive strains were then isolated from the bacteria and different testing was conducted including DNA sequencing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR was used to copy and multiply regions of DNA with different qualities. To aid in identifying different strains of Mycobacterium, the enzymes RsaI, TaqI and SacII were used to digest the gyrB gene of the different species.

After testing the DNA of the different strains, it was discovered that the most common strain among the patients was M. tuberculosis, which was 177 of the strains collected equaling about 94%. The other strains, M. bovis and M. caprae, had less than 10 strains identified for each, equaling less than 6% of the total data. M. bovis had a total of 8 cases, but of those 8, a total of 4 of them came from people who were in contact with cattle. Two patients, had a history of working in the stockbreeding industry while the other 2 had cattle hears they owned. The infection of M. bovis and M. caprae seemed to be dependent on the geographical location of the patient. Those from the rural European part of Turkey contracted M. capae, while those from the rural Asian part contracted M. bovis.

From the data, it was shown that Mycobacterium other than tuberculosis (MOTT), only consisted of 4 of the cases. This implies that TB is still an issue in Turkey. Also since the AIDS pandemic in the 1980’s, there has been an increase in TB and it also affects immigrants, homeless people, and others who have a compromised immune system. From this study, it has shown that M. tuberculosis is the main agent of TB in Turkey, it is also the main agent in the rest of the word except for Africa where M. africanum is potent.

The data from this study also showed that M. bovis is infecting people from infected animals. Humans can acquire this strain by consuming raw milk, inhalation, or coming in contact with the blood of the infected animal. To decrease the incidence of contracting any strains from the MTBC, new regulations were put in place to keep the public safe. These actions included quarantine measures and requirements stating that tuberculosis-free cattle and other herds must be used in practice. Also, inspections of cattle herds has been increased which will aid in the decline of M. bovis and M. caprae.

It is to the scientists discretion that MTBC strains should be identified at different locations and laboratories. This information would provide excellent epidemiology data and this data should be released to the public. This would also aid in creating measures to prevent the spread of the different Mycobacterium strains.


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on December 5, 2011, in Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Cows strike back (in Turkey).

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