Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

UK: Evidence of cow and badger TB link

11:28 30 November 2012

A study of bacterial DNA has provided the first clear evidence that tuberculosis (TB) can spread between cattle and badgers living near farms

A study of bacterial DNA has provided the first clear evidence that tuberculosis (TB) can spread between cattle and badgers living near farms

A study of bacterial DNA has provided the first clear evidence that tuberculosis (TB) can spread between cattle and badgers living near farms.


Scientists mapped the genetic blueprints, or genomes, of bacteria isolated from 26 cows and four badgers during outbreaks of bovine TB in Northern Ireland.

The analysis made it possible to trace changes in the bacteria’s DNA as it passed from animal to animal.

It revealed that bacteria taken from badgers and cows were closely related at the farm level.

Bacterial strains obtained from badgers and nearby cattle farms were often indistinguishable.

The findings, published in the online journal Public Library of Science Pathogens, shed no light on the direction of transmission - whether from badgers to cows or cows to badgers.

Lead scientist Professor Rowland Kao, from the University of Glasgow, said: “This study provides the first direct evidence of the close relationship between tuberculosis infections in cows and local badgers, at a very local scale.

“However, only with a larger study might we be able to quantify the extent and direction of transmission between cattle and badgers and reliably inform disease control policies.”

Bacteria from within single outbreaks were usually closely related, the study showed. But different herd outbreaks were usually characterised by genetically distinct groups of bacteria.

Controversial Government plans for a mass badger cull in England to curb the spread of bovine TB have been postponed until next summer.

Under the coalition plans, several thousand badgers were to be shot in Gloucestershire and west Somerset.

Opponents, including the RSPCA and Queen guitarist Brian May, argue that a cull would be ineffective and inhumane. An e-petition urging the Government to abandon the plan has collected more than 160,000 signatures.

The Government’s case is that the vaccine alternative is only 50% to 60% effective.

A nine-year trial showed that culling could slow the spread of the disease, but only if more than 70% of badgers in an area were eradicated.

A Defra spokesman said: “This research adds to existing scientific evidence that bTB (bovine TB) is transmitted between cattle and badgers.

“No country in the world has successfully got to grips with the spread of this disease without tackling it in the wildlife population. That is why the Government remains fully committed to culling badgers in two pilot areas.”




Woman conned by bogus caller (Stock photo)

A Hadleigh woman who lost £2,500 in a police scam has warned others to be alert to the crime.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance

A man was air lifted to hospital with chest pains after he was involved in a two-vehicle crash in Essex.

She was last seen in the area of Downside Close in Ipswich.

Concern is growing for a 49-year-old woman who has gone missing in Ipswich.

Essex police are investigating a robbery at Jaywick.

An 88-year-old Essex man suffered a broken hip when he was knocked to the ground by robbers who burst into his Jaywick home.

HGV drink-driver in court

A lorry driver carrying a trailer full of wine has admitted dangerous driving when weaving between lanes on the A14 while three times over the drink-drive limit.

Members of the nursing team at Ipswich Hospital.

Carers and visitors of people being looked after at Ipswich Hospital will next month be able to spend more time with patients as new extended visiting hours are introduced.

Part of Sue Brooks' photograph of pupils and staff at Fonnereau House School, Ipswich, in 1952. Are you in the picture?

I recently asked readers if they had memories of Fonnereau House School, Ipswich, which was in Fonnereau Road, close to High Street.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24