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Volume 622: debated on Monday 12 February 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:How, if the symptoms are identical, it is possible to separate bovine tuberculosis in humans from human bovine tuberculosis. [HL480]

Most human cases of tuberculosis are caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is not a zoonosis. Man is the natural host for M. tuberculosis. Mycobacterium bovis is the cause of tuberculosis in cattle but can also be highly infectious for man and can pose a zoonotic risk.Since human infections caused by

M. tuberculosis and M. bovis are clinically and radiologically indistinguishable, diagnosis can only be made by typing and isolating the aetiologic agent. Routine diagnosis of tuberculosis in cattle is by the tuberculin test.