Original Research

The pathology of tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a herd of semi-free-ranging springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)

T.A. Gouws, M.C. Williams
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 76, No 4 | a26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v76i4.26 | © 2009 T.A. Gouws, M.C. Williams | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 09 September 2009 | Published: 09 September 2009

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T.A. Gouws,
M.C. Williams,

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Abstract

The first detailed description of the pathology of tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, in springbok is reported. The springbok were part of a semi-free-ranging herd kept on the grounds of iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Science (LABS) in the Kuils River district of the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated from three animals out of a total of 33 sampled, with two animals showing tuberculosis lesions. The index case was an adult ewe that showed advanced miliary tuberculosis with marked macroscopic and microscopic lesions in the lungs, pleura and respiratory lymph nodes, and numerous acid-fast bacilli. Six healthy rams were sampled nine months later and a pilot study indicated miliary tuberculosis lesions in one ram, which again were macroscopically most prominent in the lungs, pleura and respiratory lymph nodes. Macroscopic lesions were also noted in the sternal, iliac, prefemoral and retropharyngeal lymph nodes. Microscopy in this animal revealed lesions in the macroscopically affected organs as well as numerous other lymph nodes, and suspected lesions occurred in the testicle and colon. Acid-fast bacilli were scarce to moderate in affected organs. Because of the miliary nature of the lesions in both affected animals, the route of infection could not be established conclusively. The lesions in most affected organs of both animals resembled classical tuberculous granulomas. A main study conducted on healthy animals 19 months after the pilot study failed to find any animal with tuberculosis lesions in the group of 25 sampled, and all were negative for mycobacteria via mycobacterial culture.

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