Although reports of infection in their natural habitat in South America are few, cases of TB have been diagnosed in llamas and alpacas in Great Britain. There is no requirement to identify camelids or record their movements. A voluntary, private surveillance scheme for TB is available for the camelid industry.

Alpacas and llamas appear to be very susceptible to Mycobacterium bovis infection. Signs seen include weight loss and respiratory signs. At post mortem examination, lesions are predominantly in the respiratory system although they are seen in other organs in more generalised disease. Lung lesions are often very extensive and cavitation is common, where lung tissue is destroyed and replaced by a cavity. Cavitation may be important in the spread of TB.

In England, compensation for camelids which are compulsorily slaughtered as TB reactors or TB affected animals is:

  • £1500 for a stud male or breeding female over 18 months old
  • £750 for a non-breeding animal over 18 months old
  • £750 for an animal 18 months old or younger

Post-mortem images of TB in camelids (images include graphic content):