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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2011, Article ID 765430, 12 pages
Research Article

A Study of the Persistence of Mycobacterium bovis in the Environment under Natural Weather Conditions in Michigan, USA

1Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Center for Comparative Epidemiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1314, USA
2Wildlife Conservation Society, P.O. Box 485, Post Office 38, Ulaanbaatar 211238, Mongolia
3Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, Michigan State University, 4125 Beaumont Road, Lansing, MI 48910-8104, USA
4Department of Epidemiology, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, B601 West Fee Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Received 4 January 2011; Accepted 16 February 2011

Academic Editor: Mitchell V. Palmer

Copyright © 2011 Amanda E. Fine 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.


Reisolation of Mycobacterium bovis from inoculated substrates was used to follow the persistence of viable M. bovis bacteria exposed to natural weather conditions over a 12-month period. Environmental factors were recorded continuously, and factors affecting M. bovis persistence (i.e., temperature, season, and substrate) were studied using survival analysis and Cox's proportional hazards regression. Persistence of M. bovis in the environment was significantly shorter in the spring/summer season, characterized by the highest average daily temperatures over the 12-month period. M. bovis persisted up to 88 days in soil, 58 days in water and hay, and 43 days on corn. These studies demonstrate that M. bovis bacteria persist long enough to represent a risk of exposure for cattle and/or wildlife and strengthen evidence that suggests cattle farm biosecurity and efforts to eliminate supplemental feeding of white-tailed deer will decrease the risk of bovine TB transmission among and between cattle and deer populations.