Late in 2007, veterinary, medical and anthropological professionals from Europe and Africa met in a 2-day workshop in Pretoria, South Africa, to evaluate the burden, surveillance and control of zoonotic tuberculosis and brucellosis in sub-Saharan Africa. Keynote presentations reviewed the burden of these diseases on human and
livestock health, the existing diagnostic tools, and the available control methods. These presentations were followed by group discussions and the formulation of recommendations. The presence of Mycobacterium bovis and Brucella spp. in livestock was considered to be a serious threat to public health, since livestock and animal products are the only source of such infections in human beings. The impact of
these pathogens on human health appears to be relatively marginal, however, when compared with Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections and drug resistance, HIV and malaria. Appropriate diagnostic tools are needed to improve the detection of M. bovis and Brucella spp. in humans. In livestock, the ‘test-and-slaughter’ approach and the
pasteurization of milk, which have been used successfully in industrialized countries, might not be the optimal control tools in Africa. Control strategies should fit the needs and perceptions of local communities. Improved intersectoral and international collaboration in surveillance, diagnosis and control, and in the education of medical
and veterinary personnel, are advocated.