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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2011, Article ID 981410, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/981410
Research Article

A New Experimental Infection Model in Ferrets Based on Aerosolised Mycobacterium bovis

1Veterinary Sciences Division, Agri-food and Biosciences Institute, Stoney Road, Belfast BT4 3SD, UK
2Department of Infectious Immunology, Statens Serum Institut, 5 Artillerivej, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
3Department of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, College Station, TX 77840-7896, USA

Received 13 January 2011; Revised 14 February 2011; Accepted 16 February 2011

Academic Editor: Mitchell V. Palmer

Copyright © 2011 Lyanne McCallan 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.

Abstract

There is significant interest in developing vaccines to control bovine tuberculosis, especially in wildlife species where this disease continues to persist in reservoir species such as the European Badger (Meles meles). However, gaining access to populations of badgers (protected under UK law) is problematic and not always possible. In this study, a new infection model has been developed in ferrets (Mustela furo), a species which is closely related to the badger. Groups of ferrets were infected using a Madison infection chamber and were examined postmortem for the presence of tuberculous lesions and to provide tissue samples for confirmation of Mycobacterium bovis by culture. An infectious dose was defined, that establishes infection within the lungs and associated lymph nodes with subsequent spread to the mesentery lymph nodes. This model, which emphasises respiratory tract infection, will be used to evaluate vaccines for the control of bovine tuberculosis in wildlife species.