Normandy joins the supervised areas for bovine tuberculosis. Seven new cases of this disease have appeared in the region since January. In detail, six were detected in Calvados and one in the Orne, reported West France Thursday, November 8. All contaminated herds were slaughtered this summer. "It is a strain of bovine tuberculosis that was thought to have eradicated twenty-five years ago," worries Étienne Gavart, director of the GDS (sanitary defense group) of Calvados, with the regional daily.
Extension of the field of struggle
Before Normandy, the epidemiological surveillance platform in animal health (ESA) had already established 64 regions of tuberculosis outbreaks in France, including 58 (91%) in New Aquitaine. Cases had also been identified in the Charente, Charente-Maritime, Corrèze, Côte d'Or, Dordogne, Haute-Corse, Haute-Vienne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and in the Pyrénées Atlantiques.
Now, faced with the upsurge of this disease, the government wants to move up a gear. Also, a vast detection campaign began in early November and will end next April. It should test 51 000 animals belonging to 850 farms in Calvados and 50 000 animals of 700 farms in the Orne. Although no cases have yet been detected, measures will also extend to the Channel where 35 000 animals from 419 farms will be detected.
Animal tuberculosis causes 2% of human cases
In the south-west, particularly affected, surveillance of wildlife, probable reservoir of disease, had been instituted in France in 1011. Because the Hexagon tends to continue to enjoy its status "officially free of bovine tuberculosis" for export cattle. "We must not exceed 200 positive cases per year.We have a hundred.We are far from the 60s when 25% of the herd was affected …", says Étienne Gavart in Ouest France.
There is no need to worry about human infection, however, as only 2% of cases of human tuberculosis in France come from animal tuberculosis. In cattle, the infection, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis by the respiratory route, is most often invisible. Indeed, the clinical symptoms appear very late during a very long evolution, explains the ANSES on its site. The general condition of the animal can be altered: it will thus show signs of thinness or a decline in production. But most often, it is only after death that the disease is identified during the autopsy or sanitary inspection.
Nearly a third of the world's population infected without knowing it
In humans, tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but also sometimes the kidneys, ganglia and bones. There are three forms of tuberculosis: the pulmonary, which accounts for 70% of the cases, the extra-pulmonary that affects the bones, the kidneys, the lymph nodes, the meninges or the central nervous system and the disseminated or millar that combines the two other.
At present, nearly 1/3 of the world's population is infected with the bacteria, most of them unknowingly because the immune system acts on the infection. People who have a latent infection therefore have no symptoms and are not contagious. On the other hand, if their immune system weakens, bacteria can multiply, causing the disease. But this remains very rare since according to the World Health Organization, only 5 to 10% of infected people in the world fall ill.
The latter live mostly in poor countries, with tuberculosis occurring mainly in areas where there is malnutrition, poor sanitation, overcrowding and lack of medical follow-up. Also, patients are often treated too late, which cost them their lives. In 2017, 1.6 million people died of tuberculosis. That is why at the end of September, the United Nations gathered in New York to raise $ 1.3 billion in the hope of eradicating the affliction by 2030 and to facilitate the procurement of drugs at lower costs .
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