We’ve been talking about tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle (Bos primigenius) and badgers (Meles meles). But why do we care? We care because TB kills people, slowly and horribly. Poor people tend to get it. Until a few decades ago, rich people often got it too. We can get it from milk so in modern times, we in rich countries pasteurise our milk.
In humans, the bacterium which usually causes TB is Mycobacterium tuberculosis spread between people. But people can get TB also from the closely related Mycobacterium bovis. That’s bTB, the kind that we can get from milk and the kind that badgers can get. Since bTB can spread from cows to people, it’s classed as a zoonosis.
Treatments for human TB don’t work very well, as Kathryn Lougheed at the Wellcome Trust explains. That’s why we still care about it.