Survivability of Mycobacterium bovis on salt and salt-mineral blocks fed to cattle

John B. Kaneene Center for Comparative Epidemiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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 DVM, MPH, PhD
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Joseph A. Hattey Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Carole A. Bolin Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine East Lansing, MI 48824.

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James Averill Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Lansing, MI 48933.

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RoseAnn Miller Center for Comparative Epidemiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the survivability of Mycobacterium bovis on salt and salt-mineral blocks in typical weather conditions in Michigan over two 12-day periods at the height of summer and winter.

SAMPLE 4 salt (NaCl) and 4 salt-mineral blocks inoculated with pure cultures of a strain of M bovis currently circulating in Michigan livestock and wildlife.

PROCEDURES In the summer and again in the winter, inoculated blocks were placed in secured outdoor facilities where equal numbers of each block type (2/type/season) were exposed to shade or sunlight. Samples were collected from randomly selected areas on the surface of each block beginning within 1 hour after placement (day 0) twice a day for the first 4 days and once a day from days 7 through 11. Bacterial culture of samples was performed to detect viable M bovis.

RESULTS Depending on the exposure conditions, salt blocks yielded viable M bovis for up to 2 days after inoculation and salt-mineral blocks yielded viable M bovis for > 3 days. Survival time was greatest on salt-mineral blocks kept outdoors in the shade during the winter. The odds of recovering viable M bovis from salt-mineral block samples were 4.9 times as great during the winter (vs the summer) and 3.0 times as great with exposure to shade (vs sunlight).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results from this study indicated that salt and salt-mineral blocks should be considered potential sources of bovine tuberculosis when designing risk mitigation programs for cattle herds in areas with wildlife reservoirs of M bovis.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the survivability of Mycobacterium bovis on salt and salt-mineral blocks in typical weather conditions in Michigan over two 12-day periods at the height of summer and winter.

SAMPLE 4 salt (NaCl) and 4 salt-mineral blocks inoculated with pure cultures of a strain of M bovis currently circulating in Michigan livestock and wildlife.

PROCEDURES In the summer and again in the winter, inoculated blocks were placed in secured outdoor facilities where equal numbers of each block type (2/type/season) were exposed to shade or sunlight. Samples were collected from randomly selected areas on the surface of each block beginning within 1 hour after placement (day 0) twice a day for the first 4 days and once a day from days 7 through 11. Bacterial culture of samples was performed to detect viable M bovis.

RESULTS Depending on the exposure conditions, salt blocks yielded viable M bovis for up to 2 days after inoculation and salt-mineral blocks yielded viable M bovis for > 3 days. Survival time was greatest on salt-mineral blocks kept outdoors in the shade during the winter. The odds of recovering viable M bovis from salt-mineral block samples were 4.9 times as great during the winter (vs the summer) and 3.0 times as great with exposure to shade (vs sunlight).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results from this study indicated that salt and salt-mineral blocks should be considered potential sources of bovine tuberculosis when designing risk mitigation programs for cattle herds in areas with wildlife reservoirs of M bovis.

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