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Bovine TB in Georgia


Mycobacterium bovis infection in South Caucasus and its Health Burden

Tech Area / Field

  • AGR-DIG/Diagnostics/Agriculture
  • AGR-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Agriculture
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Mihara T

Leading Institute
I. Beritashvili Center of Experimental Biomedicine (IBCEB), Georgia, Tbilisi

Supporting institutes

  • Agricultural University of Georgia, Georgia, Tbilisi\nNational Center for Diseases Control, Georgia, Tbilisi


  • The University of Georgia / College of Veterinary Medicine, USA, GA, Athens\nUniversity of Illinois, USA, IL, Urbana\nOsaka Anti-Tuberculosis Association Osaka Hospital, Japan, Osaka\nUniversity of Georgia, Odum School of Ecology, USA, GA, Athens

Project summary

Project aim. The main goal of this project is to study the genetics and health burden of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in South Caucasus.
Current status. Georgia has the highest prevalence of human tuberculosis (156 per 100,000 WHO) in Eastern Europe while Armenia has 55 TB cases per 100,000. It is estimated that about 2 % of all TB cases and 10 % of all non-respiratory TB cases in humans have a bTB origin in developing countries. Both countries had history of bTB outbreaks in 20th century. Due to collapse of national epidemiological surveillance systems little was known about the distribution of bTB and its health burden in Georgia and Armenia in the end of 20th century. 1n 2003, there was only one occasion study in Georgia that reported the presence of Mycobacterium bovis in beef sold in Georgian supermarkets. In Armenia, the figures of examined and infected animals were 376396/13, 70785/7, and 14889/0 for 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively. It should be mentioned that diagnostic tests that were used in the studies are much less effective compared to contemporary molecular biology tests that are used in the developed countries.
The project’s influence on progress in this area. This study will examine genetics and health burden of bTB in South Caucasus and test the effectiveness of the select study methodology for evaluating bTB epidemiology in a developing country. The study also will establish risk factors that are primary contributors for spreading the disease in Georgia and Armenia. In addition, the study will provide valuable information on bTB human infection risk pathways and on bTB dissemination routes in the Caucasus region as a whole.
The participants’ expertise. The professionals and scientists taking part in the project are leading experts in South Caucasus. They have extensive experience in practicing animal health and public health at national level. They also have considerable experience in designing and executing scientific projects in Georgia and in other countries. The latter is proved by their publications and participation in international conferences (see attached list of publications). The project will be implemented by leading research organizations in TB, veterinary medicine and biomedicine in Georgia (Agricultural University, IBCEB, NCDC) in cooperation with Armenian partners.
Expected results and applications. The genetics and epidemiology of cattle bTB in South Caucasus will be studied, its potential public health effects will be examined, and specific policy recommendations will be made available to senior public health officials in South Caucasus. The latter will be done taking into consideration bTB rates across countries and existing bTB control policies in Georgia and Armenia. All participating institutions will strengthen the capacity in utilizing industry standard research methodologies.
Meeting the ISTC goals and objectives. Since former “weapons” scientists will take part in this project and because it is exceptionally peaceful, the project meets ISTC goals. Adherence to these objectives will be attained through the broad and continuing involvement of project scientists and participating institutions in international and domestic scientific projects that develop based on the findings of this project.
Scope of activities. The following activities will be implemented under the Project:

1) Updated information on TB infections in Georgia and Armenia will be obtained;
2) Procedural guidelines will be developed and veterinarians trained in: performing clinical assessments and collecting baseline information; collecting and handling laboratory samples; and data management;
3) Quality of data and samples will be monitored and evaluated throughout the study period;
4) Geographical coordinates of all slaughterhouses and service areas will be determined for GIS mapping;
5) Samples will be examined in Molecular Biology/Microbiology and Pathology (Pathological Anatomy) laboratories and an electronic database will be developed for storage and management of laboratory results and associated data;
6) Statistical analysis of the data will be performed using SAS 9.2; Geo-mapping of the results will be performed using GIS 9.3; Risk factors of bTB will be determined and bTB potential public health burden in Georgia and Armenia will be assessed;
7) Progress and final reports will be developed; and a research manuscript(s) will be prepared for publication;


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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