Zoonotic tuberculosis is a form of tuberculosis in humans that is caused by Mycobacterium bovis, a member of a group of related bacteria known as the M. tuberculosis complex. Since animals are the reservoir of zoonotic tuberculosis, reducing the incidence of this form of tuberculosis in animals and humans requires us to manage the risk at its animal source.
Global initiatives to address bovine and zoonotic tuberculosis* are coordinated through a Tripartite (FAO/OIE/WHO) partnership and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) . In 2017, the OIE, WHO, FAO, and The Union, jointly launched the first Roadmap for Zoonotic Tuberculosis [2, 3, 4, 5, 6], outlining a plan to combat zoonotic tuberculosis using a One Health approach.
The roadmap’s three core themes are to:
a) improve the scientific evidence base
b) reduce transmission at the animal–human interface
c) strengthen intersectoral and collaborative approaches.
Ten priority areas are highlighted under these core themes. Addressing these areas will require: improving surveillance and diagnosis, addressing research gaps, improving animal health and food safety to reduce the risk to people, increasing awareness, fostering One Health approaches, and advocating for investment to support the control of bovine and zoonotic tuberculosis.
The OIE contributes to addressing these priority areas through its publication of harmonised international technical standards [7, 8] and related information; an extensive scientific network of Collaborating Centres and Reference Laboratories ; its management of a project for the production and evaluation of an international reference standard bovine tuberculin; its management of a global animal disease monitoring and reporting system, WAHIS ; and its development of training and capacity-building programmes for Veterinary Services.
* ‘zoonotic TB’ refers to disease caused by M. bovis infection in people and ‘bovine TB’ refers to disease caused by M. bovis infection in animals