Animal TB threatens human health

Animal tuberculosis, which is spread through contaminated food, is a greater threat to human health than previously realized, leading doctors and vets have warned.


The disease can be more serious and harder to treat than conventional, human tuberculosis.

The world has committed to being free of tuberculosis by 2035.

But bodies including the World Health Organization (WHO) say animal TB has been neglected for decades.

Raw or unpasteurized milk is one of the most common sources of the infection.

But animal tuberculosis – officially known as zoonotic tuberculosis – also affects those in close contact with infected animals including vets, farmers and butchers.

Dr Francisco Olea-Popelka, from the Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, said zoonotic tuberculosis was “far more common than previously recognized”.

The best estimates suggest there are around 121,000 new cases of animal TB each year.