Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mycobacterium bovis infection at the interface between domestic and wild animals in Zambia

Mudenda B Hang’ombe1*, Musso Munyeme1, Chie Nakajima2, Yukari Fukushima2, Haruka Suzuki2, Wigganson Matandiko3, Akihiro Ishii2, Aaron S Mweene1 and Yasuhiko Suzuki24*

Author affiliations

1 School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, P. O. Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia

2 Hokkaido University Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Kita-20, Nishi-10, Kita-ku, 001-0020, Sapporo, Japan

3 Zambia Wildlife Authority, Private Bag 001, Chilanga, Zambia

4 JST/JICA-SATREPS, Tokyo, 120-8666, Japan

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Citation and License

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:221  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-221

Published: 14 November 2012



In Zambia, the presence of bovine tuberculosis in both wild and domestic animals has long been acknowledged and mutual transmission between them has been predicted without any direct evidence. Elucidation of the circulating Mycobacterium bovis strains at wild and domestic animals interphase area in Zambia, where bovine tuberculosis was diagnosed in wildlife seemed to be important.


A PCR identified 15 and 37 M. bovis isolates from lechwe and cattle, respectively. Spoligotype analysis revealed that M. bovis strains from lechwe and cattle in Kafue basin clustered into a major node SB0120, where isolates outside the Kafue basin clustered into different nodes of SB0131 and SB0948. The comparatively higher variety of strains in cattle compared to lechwe elucidated by Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units–Variable Number Tandem Repeats analyses are consistent with cattle being the probable source of M. bovis in wild and domestic animals interphase area in Zambia.


These results provide strong evidence of M. bovis strains transfer between cattle and lechwe, with the latter having developed into a sylvatic reservoir host.

Bovine tuberculosis; Cattle; Mycobacterium bovis; Strains; Wildlife; Kobus leche Kafuensis