The Cow, Beef and Bovine Tuberculosis

The cow, beef and bovine tuberculosis

It shouldn’t be new to us that the meat from cattle is called BEEF, however if it’s your first time of coming across this word, never mind, there is no BEEF between us 😊

It is believed that in West Africa, Nigeria has the highest number of cattle herds. Little wonder the most common meat available and consumed in the country is beef (yes, the cow meat).

Let me share with you a short story of a butcher…

Mr Alade, a good looking and charismatic young man, worked in one of the slaughter slabs in the country. You could  see him with those fierce looking machetes in the day time but at night, he would transform to a ladies’ guy (like Transformer’s Optimus prime).

Mr Alade goes about his business everyday while trying to put smiles on the faces of co-workers. Strangely, something happened! This young, cheerful man started having slight coughs, amongst other funny signs.

Source: Africa Rising TV

Everything  seemed perfect with him and his trade before these funny signs presented. However, the only downside to his almost perfect lifestyle was that; during the process of flaying and beef dissection, he was quite fond of constantly cutting some raw meat and feeding his hungry throat and stomach.

Oh no! Who does that ???â€Ļ☚ī¸ Well, Mr Alade the butcher does. 😕 So do many other ignorant people out there like Umar and some of Alade’s well known and loyal customers who would come request for a certain part of the meat with white nodules saying “walahi walahi e dey sweet well oga”, and with smiles on his face he would gladly sell and pocket the money from sales. How ignorant!

The cough grew severe as days passed  and as you would have guessed, TUBERCULOSIS has already caught up with poor Alade.

But how? You may want to know right? – Great! Kindly keep your attention intact. This will be discussed shortly.

What is Bovine Tuberculosis (TB)?

Unlike the popular Tuberculosis in humans caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, there is a form of Tuberculosis found in cattle, caused by Mycobacterium bovis and both affect primarily the lungs and airways.

Now you are wondering, tuberculosis in cow?

The simple response is, YES.

They fall under a group of diseases called zoonotic diseases – a  group of diseases that can move from animals to humans, and they can cause serious harm.

Bovine TB bacteria can also infect humans and cause tuberculosis, although this is reported to be mainly through people consuming unpasteurised milk or dairy products (pasteurisation kills the Mycobacterium bovis bacteria).

Infection can also occur in people who come into close enough contact with infected animals by inhaling the bacteria-containing aerosol droplets exhaled by the animals.

Again, humans can also be infected via direct contact with a wound, such as cuts gotten in the process of meat preparation for the final consumer.

Undercooked meat shouldn’t be left out, as they could be culprits as well. For example the yummy asun, kilishi and even not cooking your meet properly at home could be predisposing factors to infection.

How do you then identify this type of meat in order to avoid them?

When you see whitish nodules around the meat or meat parts and when you cut them it gives this gritty sound, dear readers you have most likely come across tubercles. Please stay clear of these meat parts.

When seen around the lungs of slaughtered cow, they are sometimes referred to as “fuku elegusi” (melon lungs).

Source: Nigerian Health Blog

According to; some people say that the symptoms of bovine TB are different to the normal symptoms of TB in humans.

It is said that young children infected with M. bovis typically have abdominal infections and older patients have swollen and sometimes ulcerated lymph glands in the neck while other sources say that the symptoms of M. bovis in people are similar to the symptoms of TB caused by M. tuberculosis.

However notable symptoms include:

  • fever
  • night sweats
  • persistent cough
  • diarrhoea
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain

If you begin to have persistent  cough for weeks or you notice a tinge of blood when you cough, please it’s important  to report to your hospital.

Bitter Kola and TomTom with hot gin isn’t a cure for tuberculosis either the bovine or human form.

Remember to always watch out for the meat you buy or put inside your mouth and if you find yourself around livestock especially cattle with constant coughs , please take necessary precautions.

Report to your Veterinarian and/or visit a Physician rather than indiscriminate use of acclaimed herbal cures and other non-prescribed medications.

Be informed and stay safe!!!

Kindly drop your questions and thoughts in the comment section below. Let’s keep the discussion on!

About Dr. Adisa Adedapo

Veterinarian at DEENS AGRO & Veterinary Clinic, offering house and/or farm calls for pets and livestocks. Consultant Veterinarian at DOKITASPACE INTEGRATED VETERIANRY SERVICES; offering online and offline animal consultation services.

View all posts by Dr. Adisa Adedapo →
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