Tuberculosis, often referred to as TB, is an infectious disease that is present in the Kalahari Meerkat Project meerkat populations.
Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs, but less frequently does affect other body parts such as kidneys, bones, joints, the gastrointestinal system, the genitourinary system, the lymphatic system, the circulatory system, the central nervous system, and even the skin of the infected victim. Symptoms of this disease in meerkats include major swelling, weight loss and general lethargy. The disease is always fatal and, currently, no cure is available. Researchers of the KMP usually euthanise infected meerkats to protect local livestock and to prevent the spread of the disease to other mobs. Through the researcher's intervention some mobs that were infected with TB have managed to bounce back, with one such example being the Lazuli. But many still succumb due to symptoms failing to show until it's too late. Tuberculosis still poses a threat to wild meerkats today.
A list of current mobs with reports of active TB.
Death to Groups
TB has been known to wipe out entire mobs.
A list of famous cmeerkats who have been lost to tuberculosis:
Rhian Vivian - Famous for playing Nikita on Meerkat Manor, Rhian succumbed to TB with the rest of the Vivian following within the year of 2007.
Jo Jo Hello Elveera - The dominant female of the Elveera. The first signs of TB were reported in early 2009, the group was lost after the death of Jo Jo Hello.
Research and Studies
As of receent times, little had been known about how toberculosis effected meerkat populations with just obversationed by my KMP researchers and their groups. Few studies were done in the past concerning tuberculosis with one excepting being Dr. Julian Drewe's work prior. Normally meerkats diagnosed with TB were euthanised to prevent and outbreak within the population and to prevent local cattle and humans from becoming infected. In 2013 it was decided a larger study would take place on a wide range of wild live including meerkats. A team of students from Stellenbosch University arrive at the KMP to run tests and obversations on the meerkat population and how TB effects their lives in hopes of producing a vaccine that would prevent any farther outbreaks. Dr. Sven Parsons, who had worked with Dr. Julian Drewe prior, had agreed to work with the KMP meerkats for the study being an expert in his field and help form a diognose test to better help treat and diognose meerkats infected with TB.
Work began in December 2013 with 27 induvidual samples taken from eight different groups. The samples were sent back to the lab for testing in hopes to comfirm TB infected and form a vaccine. As of June 2014 over 125 samples were taken for a wider range of the population's health. Several mobs were selected for study, mostly high risk mobs and somes with comfirmed to be diognosed with active TB suck as the Friksarmy and Mayans. During this time the Ghostbusters, a splinter of the Friksarmy, had formed and made their torritory in TB infect land east of the Gannavlakete farmhouse, known for prior groups outbreaks.
As of December 2014 one year after the study began, five adults and three pups were given a vaccine in hopes it would prevent them from contraction and spreading the disease. High risky meerkats, mostly the dominants were plans to be vaccinated along with any new emerging pups. However sadly the Friskarmy still seem to be dealing with cinical TB.