Project: Tuberculosis in Alpine wildlife - Monitoring, diagnostics and potential control strategies of tuberculosis in wild animals in the Alpine provinces of Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

There are increasing indications that mycobacteria tuberculosis complex (MtbC) have been important emerging pathogens causing infections in free ranging red deer in the Alpine regions. Possible encroachment with cattle pastured during the summer months poses a great risk to introduce bovine tuberculosis (bTB) into domestic livestock populations. This spillover from the wildlife reservoir raises profound public health concerns. MtbC-isolates found in cattle turned out to be similar to those isolated from red deer. Reliable data about the relevant ecology of free ranging red deer in the Alpine region is still lacking. A clear understanding of the epidemiology of MtbC is essential in order to determine the exact risk for infection and to develop an efficient control strategy for preventing introduction of MtbC into livestock and human populations. The 4-Country cooperation TBC – Tuberculosis in Alpine wildlife therefore proposes to analyze the occurrence of bTB among wild animals in the Alpine regions of AT, DE, CH and IT, to determine regional prevalence, to establish the geographical distribution of genotypes and to derive corresponding risk maps. The final goal is to develop novel management and disease control strategies including a cross border information network for all involved target groups. An information and awareness campaign will be arranged to distribute the gathered information to the public itself. The project will guarantee, that in case of detection of bTB in wildlife in the Alpine region the developed infrastructure will support the public veterinary services to take important remedial actions to avoid the spread of the disease. In order to achieve these goals the project is divided into four scientific work packages and one longitudinal work package. Work package 1 (WP 1) “Preparation” will develop a harmonized methodology shared across national borders in order to ensure maximal validity and comparability of data including a transnational sample plan. Furthermore novel and valid PCR methods utilizing organ samples in order to reduce time, labour and cost will be developed. In WP 2 “Prevalence” overall and species specific prevalence of bTB in wildlife will be estimated based on the results of the representative number of collected and analyzed samples. WP 3 “Epidemiology” will deal with a thorough risk assessment of MtbC in wildlife. The spatial distribution of the found genotypes as well as corresponding epidemiological analyses together with results obtained from behavioural and ecological wildlife studies will identify high risk areas, demonstrated in geographical risk maps. Out of the derived insights and accumulated data, novel wildlife and farm level management and control strategies will be implemented in WP 4 “Novel strategies and exploitation”.WP 5 encompasses the project organisation and the arrangement of an information and awareness campaign for stakeholders and target groups and the public itself.

Acronym TB Alpine Wildlife
Duration 31/12/2013
Website visit project website
Network EMIDA
Call EMIDA 2009 Research Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg - Staatliches Tierärztliches Untersuchungsamt Aulendorf -Diagnostikzentrum- Baden Württemberg Germany
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna - Research Institute for Wildlife Ecology - Austria
EMC Microcollections GmbH Germany
Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety - Institute for Veterinary Disease Control Innsbruck Austria
Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety Coordinator Austria
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna - Institute for Veterinary Public Health Austria
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Venezie Italy
Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg - Landwirtschaftliches Zentrum für Rinderhaltung, Grünlandwirtschaft, Milchwirtschaft, Wild und Fischerei Baden-Württemberg - Wildforschungsstelle Aulendorf Germany
University of Bern - Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health Switzerland
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna Italy
Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority Germany
Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg Germany
Medical University of Innsbruck Austria
Federal Department of Home Affairs - Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office Switzerland
Technical University of Munich - Chair for Timber Structures and Building Construction Germany
Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection - Referat Tierseuchen Germany
Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety Austria