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Journal Articles European Journal of Wildlife Research Year : 2017

Host status of wild roe deer in bovine tuberculosis endemic areas


Rarely found infected, roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) are not considered a bovine tuberculosis (bTB) reservoir. However, serial cases discovered between 2010 and 2014 in one of the bTB endemic regions in France threw doubt on the epidemiological role played by this small wild cervid in ecosystems where cattle and other wild animals are both infected. Our objective was to analyse the bTB host status of roe deer as regards infection prevalence within the population and Mycobacterium bovis-induced pathology in this species. From November 2001 to March 2016, 668 roe deer were analysed (culture and/or PCR) through active surveillance implemented in three bTB endemic areas in France (Brotonne forest, Dordogne and Côte d’Or) and 132 through passive surveillance (presence of macroscopic lesions) in the whole country. Only seven roe deer were found infected by M. bovis, exclusively in bTB endemic areas, one through active surveillance (Brotonne forest; n = 203, apparent prevalence 0.49%). On the basis of these results, observed pathological patterns (mainly pulmonary lesions), species social behaviour (less gregarious than other ungulates) and food behaviour (mainly a selective browser), roe deer does not appear to be a true reservoir of bTB. However, once infected, it develops lesions reflecting a clear ability for bacterial excretion and therefore transmission to other species, most likely by indirect contact. It could thus be a spillover host included in a multi-host component reservoir in endemic areas. Consequently, passive surveillance is essential to detect infection and to implement specific management to limit interactions with cattle, where infected roe deer are found.
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Dates and versions

anses-03429179 , version 1 (17-11-2021)



Sébastien Lambert, Jean Hars, Edouard Réveillaud, Jean-Louis Moyen, Hélène Gares, et al.. Host status of wild roe deer in bovine tuberculosis endemic areas. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 2017, 63 (1), pp.15. ⟨10.1007/s10344-016-1071-4⟩. ⟨anses-03429179⟩


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