Electronic Nose To Diagnose bTB Infection in
Badgers and Cattle
|DEFRA PAID FOR THIS!
|This work was funded in part by the Department for Environment,
Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
|This paper was first received by the Journal on
the 27th May 2004 and was finally accepted on the 7th November 2004
|The most important quotation from the
|"Without exception, the Electronic Nose was able to
discriminate infected animals from controls as early as 3 weeks
after infection with Mycobacterium bovis"
|It's such a fantastic piece of work, you've
got to question why the "spooks" in DEFRA never even mention it as a
possible solution to killing thousands of cattle or badgers.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology, April 2005, p.
1745-1751, Vol. 43, No. 4
It is estimated that more than 50 million cattle are
infected with Mycobacterium bovis worldwide, resulting in severe
economic losses. Current diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle relies
on tuberculin skin testing, and when combined with the slaughter of
test-positive animals, it has significantly reduced the incidence of
bovine TB. The failure to eradicate bovine TB in Great Britain has been
attributed in part to a reservoir of the infection in badgers (Meles
meles). Accurate and reliable diagnosis of infection is the cornerstone
of TB control. Bacteriological diagnosis has these characteristics, but
only with samples collected postmortem. Unlike significant wild animal
reservoirs of M. bovis that are considered pests in other countries,
such as the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) in New Zealand, the
badger and its sett are protected under United Kingdom legislation (The
Protection of Badgers Act 1992). Therefore, an accurate in vitro test
for badgers is needed urgently to determine the extent of the reservoir
of infection cheaply and without destroying badgers. For cattle, a rapid
on-farm test to complement the existing tests (the skin test and gamma
interferon assay) would be highly desirable. To this end, we have
investigated the potential of an electronic nose (EN) to diagnose
infection of cattle or badgers with M. bovis, using a serum sample.
Samples were obtained from both experimentally infected badgers and
cattle, as well as naturally infected badgers. Without exception, the EN
was able to discriminate infected animals from controls as early as 3
weeks after infection with M. bovis, the earliest time point examined
postchallenge. The EN approach described here is a straightforward
alternative to conventional methods of TB diagnosis, and it offers
considerable potential as a sensitive, rapid, and cost-effective means
of diagnosing M. bovis infection in cattle and badgers.
electronic, nose, bovine, tuberculosis,
Mycobacterium bovis, badgers, meles meles, cattle