Source: Frontiers 

Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) can cause non-specific reactions to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) tests, complicating eradication efforts. In Spain, 373 NTM isolates from skin test-positive cattle in tuberculosis-free (OTF) herds were identified using PCR and Sanger sequencing. Of the 308 isolates reliably identified, 32 mycobacterial species were found. The most common were M. avium subsp. hominissuis (69%) and M. nonchromogenicum (27.6%).

NTMs can interfere with bTB diagnostic tests, leading to false positives and complicating eradication efforts. This study highlights the diversity of NTMs and the need for accurate diagnostics. Further research will assess the impact of these NTMs on bTB test specificity and sensitivity. Understanding which NTM species cause cross-reactions can help improve diagnostic accuracy and support bTB eradication.

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