U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Mycobacterium bovis Infection of Cattle and White-Tailed Deer: Translational Research of Relevance to Human Tuberculosis

W. R. Waters, Mitchell V. Palmer
ILAR journal 2015 v.56 no.1 pp. 26-43
Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Odocoileus virginianus, T-lymphocytes, cattle, cattle diseases, clinical trials, herds, humans, immune response, interferon-gamma, pathogens, tuberculin, tuberculosis, vaccination, vaccines, wildlife, wildlife diseases
Tuberculosis (TB) is a premier example of a disease complex with pathogens primarily affecting humans (i.e., Mycobacterium tuberculosis) or livestock and wildlife (i.e., Mycobacterium bovis) and with a long history of inclusive collaborations between physicians and veterinarians. Advances in the study of bovine TB have been applied to human TB, and vice versa. For instance, landmark discoveries on the use of Koch’s tuberculin and interferon-γ release assays for diagnostic purposes, as well as Calmette and Guérin’s attenuated M. bovis strain as a vaccine,were first evaluated in cattle for control of bovine TB prior to widescale use in humans. Likewise, recent discoveries on the role of effector/memory T cell subsets and polyfunctional T cells in the immune response to human TB, particularly as related to vaccine efficacy, have paved theway for similar studies in cattle. Over the past 15 years, substantial funding for development of human TB vaccines has led to the emergence of multiple promising candidates now in human clinical trials. Several of these vaccines are being tested for immunogenicity and efficacy in cattle. Also, the development of population-based vaccination strategies for control of M. bovis infection in wildlife reservoirs will undoubtedly have an impact on our understanding of herd immunity with relevance to the control of both bovine and human TB in regions of the world with high prevalence of TB. Thus, the one-health approach to research on TB is mutually beneficial for our understanding and control of TB in humans, livestock, and wildlife.