Nontuberculosis mycobacteria are the major causes of tuberculosis like lesions in cattle slaughtered at Bahir Dar Abattoir, northwestern Ethiopia

Anwar Nuru, Aboma Zewude, Temesgen Mohammed, Biniam Wondale, Laikemariam Teshome, Muluwork Getahun, Gezahegne Mamo, Girmay Medhin, Rembert Pieper, Gobena Ameni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The main cause of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is believed to be Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis). Nontuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM) are neglected but opportunistic pathogens and obstacles for bTB diagnosis. This study aimed to isolate and characterize the mycobacteria organisms involved in causing TB-like lesions in cattle in northwestern Ethiopia. Results: A total of 2846 carcasses of cattle were inspected for TB lesions. Ninety six tissues (including lymph nodes such as submandibular, retropharyngeal, tonsilar, mediatinal, bronchial and mesenteric, and organs such as lung, liver and kidney) with suspicious TB lesion(s) were collected and cultured on Lowenstein-Jensen medium. Twenty one showed culture growth, of which only 17 were identified containing acid fast bacilli (AFB) by Ziehl-Neelsen staining. Among the 17 AFB isolates 15 generated a polymerase chain reaction product of 1030 bp by gel electrophoresis based on the 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplification. No M. tuberculosis complex species were isolated. Further characterization by Genotype Mycobacterium CM assay showed 6 isolates identified as M. peregrinum. Eight isolates represented by mixed species, which includes M. fortuitum-peregrinum (3 isolates), M. gordonae-peregrinum (3 isolates) and M. fortuitum-gordonae-peregrinum (2 isolates). One NTM could not be interpreted. Conclusion: A significant number of NTM species were isolated from TB-like lesions of grazing cattle slaughtered at Bahir Dar Abattoir. Such finding could suggest the role of NTM in causing lesions in cattle. Further investigations are recommended on the pathogenesis of the reported NTM species in cattle, and if they have public health significance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number237
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cattle
  • Nontuberculosis mycobacteria
  • TB-like lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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