Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 8°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.

shares

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.”

end

shares

0 comments

Two teenagers have been arrested following the death of a 14 year old boy after an incident at an address in Thurston.

A peaceful Suffolk village is tonight in shock after the death of a 14-year-old boy from gunshot wounds.

Clare

Police were called at 3.35pm today to attend a serious road traffic collision in Clare.

Waveney River Centre.

A young girl has died after she was found unconscious in a pool at Waveney River Centre at around midday today.

Entrants set off in last year's Rotary Club of Felixstowe fun run on the resort's seafront.

After a warm and fairly dry weekend, Bank Holiday Monday is set to get off to a dry start in Suffolk but turn wet and blowy by the afternoon.

More than 600 vehicles - cars, buses, military vehicles and motorcycles - taking part in the 46th annual Ipswich to Felixstowe Historic Vehicle Run. Christchurch Park. Left to right, Ross and Stuart Holman.

Hundreds of car owners took advantage of one of the first good days of the year to take part in Sunday’s historic vehicle run from Ipswich to Felixstowe.

Norfolk Police. Photo: Steve Adams

Police were called to the scene of a three car crash on the A146, near the Morrisons roundabout, at around 11.24am.

Kesgrave 5K Fun Run starting and ending at The Bell Inn.

It was a record-breaking turn out at the ninth annual Kesgrave 5k fun run.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24