Northern Ireland btb programme
Microbiology - Article in Press, Corrected Proof
Bovine tuberculosis is endemic in Northern Ireland and a comprehensive
eradication scheme has been in operation since 1959. The current programme
involves annual testing, extensive computerized tracing, short-interval testing
of herds contiguous to outbreaks and compulsory slaughter of positive cattle.
Despite initial reductions in disease prevalence, eradication has proved elusive
and potential explanatory factors include high cattle density and potential for
between-herd contact, the impact of exotic diseases on resource priorities, and
significant levels of bovine tuberculosis in a wildlife reservoir, the European
badger (Meles meles). Both the role of the infected bovine and that of the
badger in spreading disease have to be addressed to ensure progress towards
eradication. Current measures are described and future options for enhancing the
programme are outlined.
Bovine tuberculosis; Eradication; Control