African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12465


Enzootic bovine leukosis and the risk to human health

Axel Villalobos-Cortés
  • Axel Villalobos-Cortés
  • Instituto de Investigación Agropecuaria, Laboratorio de Análisis y Biología Molecular Aplicada, Ciudad de Saber Edificio 221, Republic of Panama.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 15 October 2016
  •  Accepted: 21 March 2017
  •  Published: 12 April 2017


The bovine leukemia virus (BLV) was first reported as enzootic bovine lymphosarcoma in Eastern Europe in the late 19th century, highlighted by the presence of slightly yellow nodules in the enlarged spleen of cattle. It was believed to be an infectious disease because it spreaded through the herds. With changes observed in sensitivity of diagnostic techniques, the opinion that “BLV does not infect humans” starts to change after more than two decades.  Several researches tried to link the BLV and human health in some studies in which BLV and human breast cancer have been shown. Studies about the possible routes of infection and to explain the genetic transformation processes in humans are raised. Multiple reports on this disease that link it to human health concluded on the need for a new mind set to understand relation between BLV and human health so as to improve the prevention, control and eradication of cattle herds.


Key words: Zoonotic disease, bovine leukemia virus, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), cancer.