Epidemiological investigation of bovine tuberculosis outbreaks in Uruguay (2011–2013)

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Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a chronic disease of cattle caused by infection with the Mycobacterium bovis. While bTB prevalence in Uruguay has been low (<11 outbreaks/year) for the past 50 years as a consequence of a national control program, annual incidence increased in 2011 through 2013–15, 26 and 16 infected herds each year, raising concerns from livestock stakeholders and the government. The goal of this study was to assess the spatial dynamics of bTB in Uruguay from 2011 to 2013 and the association between bTB and potential demographic and movement risk factors at the herd level using data provided by the Uruguayan Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries. Clustering of incident outbreaks was assessed using the Cuzick-Edwards’ test and the Bernoulli model of the spatial scan statistic, and a conditional multivariable logistic regression model was used to assess risk factors associated with bTB in a subset of Uruguayan dairy farms. Significant (P < 0.05) global clustering was detected in 2012, while high-risk local clusters were detected in southwestern (2011, 2012, 2013), northwestern (2012), and southeastern (2012) Uruguay. Increased risk of bTB in different regions of Uruguay suggests a potential role of animal movements in disease dissemination. Larger herds, higher numbers of animals purchased, and incoming steers to the farm were associated with increased odds of breaking with bTB, in agreement with previous studies but also suggesting other additional sources of risk. These results will contribute to enhanced effectiveness of bTB control programs in Uruguay with the ultimate objective of preventing or mitigating the impact of the disease in the human and animal populations of the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Risk factors
  • Spatial cluster analysis
  • Uruguay


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