Pathology of naturally occurring bovine tuberculosis in England and Wales

E. Liebana*, L. Johnson, J. Gough, P. Durr, K. Jahans, R. Clifton-Hadley, Y. Spencer, R. G. Hewinson, S. H. Downs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (SciVal)


The aim of this study was to obtain a contemporary data set of pathology in tuberculin reactor and in-contact cattle in England and Wales. Four hundred animals (200 reactors and 200 in-contacts) from 242 farms located in 14 counties in Western England and Wales were examined. The mean number of lymph nodes (LNs) with tuberculosis (TB)-like lesions per TB-confirmed animal was 1.7 in reactors and 1.5 in in-contact animals. Tuberculous lesions in both reactor and in-contact animals were most commonly observed in the LNs of the thorax, followed by the head and abdomen, particularly the mediastinal, retropharyngeal and tracheobronchial LNs. Twenty-five reactors had macroscopic lesions in the palatine tonsils. Among TB-confirmed cattle, 27% of reactors and 9% of in-contact animals had gross TB-like lesions in the lungs, particularly in the caudal lobes. Gross lesions that were not TB-confirmed were parasitic granulomas (45%), bacterial or mycotic club-forming pyogranulomas (27%) and bacterial abscesses (23%). Diagnostic sensitivity was maximised when bacteriology and histopathology were used concurrently. Stage IV granulomas, alone or in combination with other stages, constituted 63% of lesions, while 16% of lesions were stage I/II granulomas. Caseous necrosis and calcification were common features of the granulomas encountered in natural Mycobacterium bovis infections, even with pathology limited to a small number of sites. Granulomas often covered large areas of histological sections and typically contained only small numbers of acid fast bacilli. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-360
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number3
Early online date28 Aug 2007
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2008


  • Bovine
  • Mycobacterium bovis
  • Pathology
  • Tuberculosis


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