Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in dogs in a high-risk setting
Dogs infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis can develop clinical tuberculosis (TB) but there are currently no validated immunological assays for diagnosing this infection in this species. Using a post mortem survey we investigated the prevalence of non-clinical M. tuberculosis infection and clinical TB disease in a high-risk population of dogs and developed and utilised a novel interferon-gamma release assay to determine the risk of transmission of M. tuberculosis from TB patients to contact dogs. The prevalence of clinical TB in dogs from a high-risk setting was 1% (95% CI: 0-5%) while the prevalence of immunological sensitization to M. tuberculosis antigens in dogs living in contact with sputum smear-positive TB patients was 50%. The IGRA proved a useful test of M. tuberculosis infection in dogs and the high levels of transmission of this pathogen from humans to companion dogs should be considered when assessing the zoonotic risks associated with such animals. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.