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    Reducing cattle’s susceptibility to Mycobacterium bovis infection through improved nutrition: establishing a knowledge base


    We worked with the Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences Department at Harper Adams University to systematically map evidence to investigate the possible influences of nutritional factors on the susceptibility of dairy cattle to Mycobacterium bovis, thereby determining ways to boost host immune responses and clearing of M. bovis infection in dairy cattle through nutrients, mirroring the host-directed therapy approaches to tuberculosis in humans.


    Diet and TB have been linked historically in a range of studies in both human and veterinary medicine. From as early as the 1930 researchers have suggested that diet is an important factor in susceptibility to tuberculosis infection in both cattle and humans. More recently diet has been shown to have a major impact on the immune status and susceptibility to infection in cattle, particularly in high yielding dairy cows and neonatal calves. However, the influence of nutrition/malnutrition in cattle and susceptibility to bovine tuberculosis is seldom mentioned in current veterinary literature. In this scoping study we collated evidence from both the public health and veterinary sectors to:

    a) Gain a better understanding of the current state of knowledge about the role of diet and nutrition in affecting cattle’s susceptibility to Mycobacterium bovis

    b) Identify public health evidence about the role of diet and nutrition in reducing susceptibility to Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is potentially applicable to animal health

    The primary question of the scoping study was:

    “What effect does diet and nutrition have on human and animal susceptibility to infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and bovis?”

    Evidence was synthesised to identify knowledge gaps that can be addressed through future primary research.


    This project forms part of the work carried out by the Centre for Evidence-Based Agriculture based at Harper Adams University.

    Funding Body

    Barham Benevolent Foundation

    Lead Organisation

    Harper Adams University

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