Table of Contents
ISRN Veterinary Science
Volume 2012, Article ID 245138, 7 pages
Research Article

A Two-Years' Survey on the Prevalence of Tuberculosis Caused by Mycobacterium caprae in Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) in the Tyrol, Austria

1Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Institute for Veterinary Disease Control Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 70, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2Division of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Fritz-Pregl-Straβe 3/3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
3Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Institute for Veterinary Disease Control Mödling, Robert Koch Gasse 17, 2340 Mödling, Austria
4Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Data, Statistics and Risk Assessment, 8020 Graz, Austria
5Veterinary Department, Regional Government of the Tyrol, 6600 Reutte, Austria
6Institute for Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinärplatz, 1210 Vienna, Austria

Received 28 June 2012; Accepted 8 August 2012

Academic Editors: O. A. Dellagostin and V. Ritacco

Copyright © 2012 Karl Schoepf et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A survey of 143 hunter-harvested red deer for tuberculosis was conducted in an Alpine area in Western Austria over two subsequent years. There, single tuberculosis cases caused by Mycobacterium caprae had been detected in cattle and red deer over the preceding decade. The area under investigation covered approximately 500 km2, divided into five different hunting plots. Lymph nodes of red deer were examined grossly and microscopically for typical tuberculosis-like lesions and additionally by microbiological culturing. Executing a detailed hunting plan, nine M. caprae isolates were obtained. Six out of nine originated from one single hunting plot with the highest estimated prevalence of tuberculosis, that is, 23.1%. All isolates were genotyped by mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit—variable number of tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) typing of 24 standard loci plus VNTR 1982. All nine isolates belonged to a single cluster termed “Lechtal” which had been found in cattle and red deer in the region, demonstrating a remarkable dominance and stability over ten years. This is the first report on a systematic prospective study investigating the prevalence and strain variability of M. caprae infection in red deer in Austria and in the Alpine countries.