Published Date: 2012-04-14 13:50:21
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Bovine tuberculosis - UK (02): (Scotland)
Archive Number: 20120414.1101180
BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS - UK (02): (SCOTLAND)
A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012
Source: Farmersguardian.com [edited]
Sixty cattle slaughtered after bovine TB outbreak in Scotland
Sixty cattle from a fully closed dairy herd have been compulsory slaughtered following one of the worst outbreaks of bovine TB in Scotland for several years. The outbreak on the farm at Ballencrieff, Bathgate, West Lothian, has been described as a 'mystery' and 'unclear', given the closed nature of the affected herd. Movement restrictions have been imposed, though a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said neighbouring units were not being affected by the controls.
The Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency is investigating the outbreak, which came to light when lesions were spotted by vets in a 13-year-old British Friesian cow sent for slaughter.
Both skin and gamma interferon tests were subsequently carried out on the whole herd, with a number of positive reactors identified in both screens.
The Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The affected herd is a fully closed dairy herd and no cattle have been brought on to the farm since 1988. It is something of a mystery.
"Scotland has had a low and relatively stable incidence of bovine TB for many years, with the last case in January this year. Scotland's official TB-free status will not be affected by this case."
A spokesman for NFU Scotland said it was a 'low risk' herd, which had been operated on a closed system and tested regularly under the 4-year herd testing designation. He said: "In these circumstances a TB breakdown is a savage blow which could not have been predicted. "Given the closed nature of the affected herd, the source of this outbreak is unclear and will be investigated.
However, the majority of TB breakdowns within Scotland are linked to animal movements from high risk regions and our best protection from this disease is care in how we source cattle and where possible selecting low risk animals." He said TB inspection at slaughter was an important component of Scotland's surveillance system and in this outbreak the disease was identified at that level, allowing prompt action to be taken within the herd.
"Within the British Isles, Scotland is in a uniquely privileged position with low disease incidence and no wildlife component impacting on our disease picture. The absence of repeated reinfections within single herds, or clusters of disease caused by the same strain of TB, are indicators that a wildlife reservoir is not driving infection."
[Byline: David Boderke]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
[Results of the epidemiological investigation into the source of infection are anticipated with interest. Introduction of the infection by domestic and/or semi-feral pets deserve to be excluded as well. In this respect, subscribers are referred to 20081112.3565, particularly to the commentary by Mod. MHJ. - Mod. AS].
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