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The detection and diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in food-producing animals is critical to human health. In this study we applied the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) system to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) directly in 57 cattle and six lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) carcasses exhibiting lesions characteristic of TB. The samples were first subjected to Ziehl-Neelsen microscopy, followed by culture and LAMP assay. In addition, multiplex-PCR was used to determine the species involved. Of the samples from the cattle, 84.2% (95% confidence interval: 71.6-92.1) were found positive with Ziehl-Neelsen microscopy, 93.0% (95% confidence interval: 82.2-97.7) with culture, and 94.7% (95% confidence interval: 84.5-98.6) with the LAMP system while the Kobus leche kafuensis samples were all positive for all techniques used. These results indicate that the LAMP system can be used to augment the detection and surveillance of TB in animals; hence can be a very useful tool in the veterinary field and in public health.
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