Phylogenetic relationships investigation of Mycobacterium caprae strains from sympatric wild boar and goats based on whole genome sequencing

Giovanna Ciaravino, Enric Vidal, Martí Cortey, Maite Martín, Albert Sanz, Irene Mercader, Claudia Perea, Suelee Robbe-Austerman, Alberto Allepuz, Bernat Pérez de Val*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Tuberculosis (TB) in wildlife challenges epidemiological surveillance and disease control. An outbreak of TB was detected in a free-ranging wild boar population of a Natural Park in Catalonia (Spain) and the outbreak investigation was conducted in the area. During the study period (2015–2020), 278 wild boars were analysed by gross pathology, histopathology, mycobacterial culture and DVR-spoligotyping. In addition, all cattle (49) and goat (47) herds of the area were tested with tuberculin skin test. TB compatible lesions were detected in 21 wild boars, and Mycobacterium caprae was isolated in 17 of them with two different spoligotypes: SB0415 (13) and SB1908 (4). Only two goat herds showed TB positive animals that were subsequently slaughtered. M. caprae with the spoligotypes SB0416 and SB0415 were isolated from these animals. To investigate the phylogenetic relationships and the transmission chain of the outbreak, nine strains isolated from six wild boars and three goats of the study area were analysed by whole genome sequencing (WGS) followed by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis by maximum likelihood and median-joining network inference methods. Results indicated that infected wild boars maintained M. caprae strains circulation in their own population and have likely transmitted the infection to goats, thus acting as TB reservoirs, compromising the success of livestock TB eradication campaigns and posing a risk for public health. The results also highlighted the usefulness of WGS followed by SNP analysis in providing relevant epidemiological information when detailed contact data are missing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1476-1486
Number of pages11
JournalTransboundary and emerging diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Mycobacterium caprae
  • epidemiology
  • goats
  • tuberculosis
  • whole genome sequencing
  • wild boar


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