Progenitor strain introduction of Mycobacterium bovis at the wildlife-livestock interface can lead to clonal expansion of the disease in a single ecosystem

Anzaan Dippenaar, Sven David Charles Parsons, Michele Ann Miller, Tiny Hlokwe, Nicolaas Claudius Gey van Pittius, Sabir Adroub, Abdallah Abdallah, Arnab Pain, Robin Mark Warren, Anita Luise Michel, Paul David van Helden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium bovis infects multiple wildlife species and domesticated cattle across South Africa, and negatively impacts on livestock trade and movement of wildlife for conservation purposes. M. bovis infection was first reported in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa during the 1990s, and has since spread to infect numerous animal host species throughout the park and across South Africa. Whole genome sequencing data of 17 M. bovis isolates were analyzed to investigate the genomic diversity among M. bovis isolates causing disease in different animal host species from various locations in South Africa. M. bovis strains analyzed in this study are geographic rather than host species-specific. The clonal expansion of M. bovis in the KNP highlights the effect of an introduction of a transmissible infectious disease leading to a rising epidemic in wildlife, and emphasizes the importance of disease control and movement restriction of species that serve as disease reservoirs. In conclusion, the point source introduction of a single M. bovis strain type in the KNP ecosystem lead to an M. bovis outbreak in this area that affects various host species and poses an infection risk in neighboring rural communities where HIV prevalence is high.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-238
Number of pages4
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
StatePublished - Apr 13 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This study was enabled by funding from the South African Medical Research Council, the National Research Foundation, and faculty baseline funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia) awarded to A Pain. MA Miller is funded by the South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, award number UID 86949. Any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the author(s) and the NRF does not accept any liability in this regard. The authors declare that no conflict of interest exists.


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