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Thursday, May 14, 2009


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Tue 12 May 2009
Source: Farmers Weekly Interactive [edited]

Bovine TB in other species shows 4-fold increase
Cases of bovine tuberculosis in species other than cattle have shown a
dramatic increase, according to DEFRA figures. A total of 119 animals
across 8 species became infected with _Mycobacterium bovis_ in 2008 -- a
4-fold increase on 2007. The 2 previous years had fewer than 30 cases.

Of the species infected, the biggest rise was recorded in deer. From a
single deer found to be carrying the disease in 2007 to 34 deer recorded in
2008. Goats accounted for 33 cases compared with just 2 in 2007 and the
number of diseased pigs found doubled from 5 in 2007 to 10 animals in 2008.
Cats, dogs, alpacas, llamas, and sheep also showed increasing levels of

About half of the cases were found in the West Country with south Wales
accounting for a quarter of cases. The remainder were found in counties as
far north as Lancashire.

The National Beef Association blamed the spread on DEFRA's reluctance to
tackle the disease in wildlife. Jilly Greed NBA vice chairwoman in the
south west of England said the disease could pop up anywhere, spread
through contact with badgers and badger latrines. "How much more damage
does TB have to do before the politicians admit something has to be done to
protect the public, prevent animal suffering, and save the economy. If
DEFRA won't say something we should go public and warn other users of the
countryside that it is no longer safe to be out here without taking

But a DEFRA spokeswoman said that the increase in numbers found was due to
greater awareness of the disease in companion animals and better surveillance.

[byline: Jonathan Riley]

communicated by:
ProMED-mail rapporteur Susan Baekeland

[In order to assess the significance of the data, the number of
clusters/infected premises/outbreaks is to be considered rather than the
number of animals (such as, in how many units are the 34 infected deer
concentrated?) Having said this, one cannot ignore the recorded continued
spread of the disease in the UK, particularly in south west England and in
Wales. See also item 2. - Mod.AS]

Date: Thu 14 May 2009
Source: DEFRA (UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs),
Animal health & welfare [edited]

[Final Report of the Bovine TB Advisory Group, presented to the Minister
for Farming and the Environment, and the chief veterinary officer for
Defra. 8 Apr 2009, extracted, edited]

Bovine tuberculosis in England: towards eradication
a. Conclusions (page 4)
1. Bovine TB has been a difficult and demanding problem for many years.
There are reasons for believing that it can be controlled and finally
eradicated but this will require a long-term commitment by all stakeholders
and take at least 20 years.
2. Very many who are involved in battling this disease are becoming
disheartened with the lack of progress and with a widely held belief that
the failure to tackle the wildlife reservoir undermines their efforts.
3. There is a need for strong and committed leadership (both Government and
industry) to develop a clear consensus on tackling this disease. Renewed
vigour needs to be injected into this long campaign and we welcome the
establishment of the England TB Eradication Group.
4. Although control of the disease in cattle might be accomplished by
cattle measures alone the time scale is long and the cost to the farming
industry and the public purse will be considerable. There are not
sufficient additional practical cattle controls, which will result in the
eradication of TB in the absence of measures to address infection in the
wildlife reservoir.
5. The Secretary of State's decision has removed the option (preferred by
many in the farming industry) of culling badgers in England. However,
reducing the risk of transmission from the wildlife vector to cattle does
not solely mean the culling of badgers, but encompasses all practical
measures to break the cycle of transmission.
6. An injectable badger vaccine is due to be licensed by 2010 and an oral
vaccine is expected by 2014 at the earliest. The practical widespread
application of badger vaccines has the potential to contribute to
eradication of bovine TB. However, it is likely to take several years
before an effect in cattle is observed.
7. Vaccination of cattle is further away and will require the development
of a test to differentiate vaccinated from unvaccinated cattle (DIVA) as
well as a change in EU legislation before it can be used in the cattle
8. Given the current rate of spread of TB we are concerned there may be
over-reliance on a future vaccination programme (cattle and badgers) --
this should not negate the urgent need for measures to tackle the problem now.
9. The emphasis of the current TB testing programme (surveillance and
control) appears to be unbalanced that is, the same approach is used in
both high risk and low risk areas.
10. Further measures aimed at stopping the spread of the disease will cause
difficulties and costs to both the taxpayer and the farming industry. It is
in the public interest and in line with the responsibility and cost sharing
agenda that costs are shared.

b. Annex D: Bovine TB -- the facts
1. TB control/eradication (page 56)
Q43. Can TB be eradicated from cattle through extra cattle measures without
addressing the wildlife reservoir?
A43. In September 2005, the Wilsmore review concluded that the
international evidence shows clearly that bovine TB in cattle cannot be
eradicated by cattle controls alone when there is a secondary reservoir of
infection from wildlife. Thus, on the basis of this evidence, some form of
intervention in the wildlife domain is necessary if bovine TB in cattle is
to be eradicated. The ISG [Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB]
concluded that the elimination of infection in high risk areas can only be
achieved in the very long-term and that this problem is a consequence not
only of the failure to remove all infected cattle on some farms, but also
reintroduction of infection from wildlife (see also question 32).
2. Badgers and bovine TB (page 49)
Q32. Will TB in badgers die out if disease is controlled in cattle?
A32. We don't know for certain. Modelling suggests that if disease in
cattle is reduced then disease in badgers will also be reduced. On the
other hand, there is evidence that TB is a self-sustaining infection within
the badger population and once introduced, the infection persists within
that species without the need for input from other infected species such as

communicated by:

[Subscribers are encouraged to refer to the original report at the URL
above (69 pages), particularly to Annex D "Bovine TB -- the facts". The
annex includes, among others, background information to Q43 and Q32 cited
above. - Mod.AS]

[see also:
Bovine tuberculosis - UK, New Zealand: vaccination 20090325.1160
Bovine tuberculosis - UK (02): (Wales) 20090323.1143
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK: (02) 20090320.1121
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK: (Wales) 20090107.0066
Bovine tuberculosis, feline - UK (02) 20081126.3722
Bovine tuberculosis - UK: increased incidence 20081123.3696
Bovine tuberculosis, domestic animals - UK (03): 2005-2006 20081114.3594
Bovine tuberculosis, domestic animals - UK (02) 20081112.3565
Bovine tuberculosis, domestic animals - UK 20081111.3551
Bovine tuberculosis, feline - UK 20081005.3141
Bovine tuberculosis, human, canine - UK: (England) (02) 20080927.3054
Bovine tuberculosis, caprine - UK: (Wales) 20080723.2229
Bovine tuberculosis - UK, Ireland, Netherlands ex UK 20080718.2186
Tuberculosis, bovine - Netherlands ex UK: EU consultation 20080909.2813
Bovine tuberculosis - UK, Ireland 20070731.2473
Bovine tuberculosis, human - UK (England) (02) 20061015.2967
Bovine tuberculosis, human - UK (Gloucestershire) 20040714.1890
Tuberculosis, bovine, badgers - UK (03) 20061014.2945
Tuberculosis, bovine, badgers - UK (02) 20061011.2915
Tuberculosis, bovine, badgers - UK 20061005.2857
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK: badger vaccine trial 20060622.1724
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK (England) 20051209.3549
Tuberculosis, bovine, pigs - UK (England) 20050713.1996
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK (England): wildlife 20040717.1941
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK (England) 20040216.0513
Tuberculosis, bovine, badgers - UK 20031105.2745
Tuberculosis, bovine - UK (Scotland) 20031021.2647]


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