Photo: How TB Jumps From Humans to Wildlife -- Vet Seeks Clues



A mongoose explores a trash can in Botswana. It's well known that animal diseases can be transmitted to humans. But in Botswana several years ago, the first case was documented of a human disease, tuberculosis, emerging in free-ranging wildlife—in this case, the banded mongoose.

The animals may pick up the bacteria that cause tuberculosis by nosing around human waste. They investigate possible food sources in garbage piles, septic tanks, and sputum. Bacteria may enter tiny cuts on their noses, then spread through their bodies.

Photograph courtesy Matt Eich


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