Mycobacterium bovisis the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), one of the most costly and persistent agricultural infectious diseases still widespread in England today. However, not all parts of England are created equally with respect to the incidence of bTB. In 2012 the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) divided the country into three risk areas; the high, low and edge risk areas. The perpetuation of the bTB epidemic is often blamed on the known wildlife host of M. bovis, the European badger (Meles meles). Despite this, no large scale studies examining both the prevalence and transmission patterns of M. bovis in this species has been undertaken. Here we describe the results of a major survey of 600 road-kill badgers from 6 counties within the edge risk area of England. Mycobacterium like colonies were isolated from over 80 carcasses of which, 65 were confirmed to be tuberculosis complex positive by PCR. These isolates were spoligotyped, VNTR typed and then subsequently whole-genome sequenced. We describe a SNP based transmission analysis of the sequenced isolates that provides a higher degree of resolution between the badgers compared to the described molecular typing methods.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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