Isolation of mycobacterium species from raw milk of pastoral cattle of the southern highlands of Tanzania

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Tropical Animal Health and Production


A study to determine the secretion of Mycobacterium spp. in milk from indigenous cattle was carried out in pastoral cattle reared in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. The study was aimed at elucidating the dangers associated with milk-borne zoonoses in a society where milk is normally consumed raw. Out of 805 milk samples, 31 (3.9%) were positive for mycobacteria. There was a preponderance of atypical mycobacteria (87%) whereas only two isolates (6.5%) were con¢rmed as M. bovis. Atypical mycobacteria included: M. terrae (n=7), M. fortuitum (n=2), M. £avescens (n = 13), M. gordonae (n=1) and M. smegmatis (n = 4). Although the number of M. bovis positive samples was low, the habit of pooling milk may still pose great public health dangers to milk consumers in this part of the world. Moreover, isolation of atypical mycobacteria should also be considered to be a danger to human health in countries such as Tanzania, where the number of people with lowered immunity due to HIV infection is on the increase.


Tropical Animal Health and Production 1998, 30(4), 233^239


Mycobacterium species, Indigenous cattle, Dangers associated with milk-borne zoonoses, Bovine tuberculosis