Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title









Centre for People, Place and Planet




Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity University of Sydney / Ministry of Agriculture / Republic of Fiji and Ministry of Health and Medical Services / Republic of Fiji


Toribio, J. A. L. M. L., Lomata, K., Fullman, S., Jenkins, A., Borja, E., Arif, S., . . . Marais, B. J. (2023). Assessing risks for bovine and zoonotic tuberculosis through spatial analysis and a questionnaire survey in Fiji – A pilot study. Heliyon, 9(12), article e22776.


Mycobacterium bovis causes tuberculosis in cattle and when transmitted to humans typically causes extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB). Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) has a global distribution and is controlled in most countries to protect animal and public health. Recent studies revealed that bTB is established on dairy farms in Fiji where EPTB cases have been reported in people. The aims of this pilot investigation were to look for putative zoonotic TB (EPTB) cases in people and to evaluate practices that might contribute to the persistence and transmission of M. bovis between cattle and to humans. Existing data sets were shared between the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health and a questionnaire-based survey was implemented using One Health principles. Statistically significant co-location and close proximity of EPTB cases and bovine TB affected farms were identified. The bTB infection status of farms was significantly associated with unfenced water sources where cattle grazed. Of 247 households, 65 % shared drinking water sources with cattle and 36 % consumed raw milk without boiling, while 62 % of participants reported backyard slaughter of cattle. Several participants reported current symptoms potentially suggestive of TB (chronic cough) but the impact of smoking and history of previous TB treatment could not be evaluated. Farmers had limited understanding of the practices required to prevent bTB at farm level. Further study is recommended and should include an assessment of lifetime EPTB diagnoses, classification of farms based on more recent bTB test data and molecular typing of mycobacterial isolates from humans, cattle and the environment. A targeted awareness and education approach is required to reduce the future risk of zoonotic TB and to help ensure uptake of recommendations and practices aimed at controlling and preventing bTB.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.