Review of the Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Non-Bovid Wildlife Species Using Immunological Methods--An Update of Published Work Since 2009

Transbound Emerg Dis. 2013 Nov;60 Suppl 1:14-27. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12094.


The infection of both captive and free-ranging wildlife species with pathogenic mycobacteria (including Mycobacterium tuberculosis) poses a zoonotic risk and continues to cause challenges for the livestock industry, zoos and governments around the world. Central to the management and control of tuberculosis is timely and accurate diagnosis. In many cases, bacterial culture is insufficiently sensitive and confirmation of TB post-mortem is neither feasible nor desirable. In this context, there is still considerable research interest in, and need for, immunological methods for diagnosis. Reviews on this topic were published in 2005 and 2009, but since then veterinarians and other researchers have continued to evaluate immunodiagnostic approaches to TB. These include serological tests such as lateral-flow devices, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and those based on evaluation of cell-mediated immunity, such as the tuberculin skin test and interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA). Since 2009, the range of publications on this topic has been extended to a number of new species, including South American camelids, black rhinoceros, lions and non-human primates. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to review the literature in the 3 years since 2009 and provide an overview of progress.

Keywords: ELISA; Mycobacterium; cell-mediated immunity; serology; test.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild / microbiology*
  • Cattle
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Goats / immunology
  • Goats / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology
  • Immunologic Tests*
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serologic Tests / methods
  • Tuberculin Test / methods
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis / veterinary*