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btb distances in East Offaly


Preventive Veterinary Medicine - Vol 31, Iss 1-2 , July 1997, pp113-125


S. W. Martin, , J. A. Eves, L. A. Dolan, R. F. Hammond, J. M. Griffin, J. D. Collins and M. M. Shoukri from University of Guelph, Canada and University College Dublin.


The proximity of farms to badger setts was compared between farms that had experienced a tuberculosis breakdown and those that had not, over the 6 year period from 1988 to 1993. The data were derived from a badger removal study conducted in East Offaly County in the Republic of Ireland. Badger removal began in 1989 and continued through 1993; by the end of 1990, approximately 80% of all badgers caught in the 6 year period had been removed. All badgers were examined, grossly, for evidence of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis status of the approximately 900 study herds was based on the results of the single intradermal comparative skin test and/or lesions of bovine tuberculosis. All herds were tested at least once annually. The number of herds experiencing bovine tuberculosis declined over the period, particularly in the years 1992 and 1993.

The data on farm and badger sett location were stored and analysed, initially, in a geographical information system. Owing to the badger removal programme, the distance between the barn yard of a typical farm and the nearest occupied badger sett increased, by about 300 m year−1, and by about 600 m year−1 to the closest infected sett. In bivariate analyses, in the years 1988 and 1989, the risk of tuberculosis declined with increasing distance to a badger sett containing one or more tuberculous badgers. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, year and the average number of cattle tested per farm per year were controlled. A second identical analysis was conducted to control for the repeated observations on the same herds using generalised estimating equations. In both analyses, the risk of a multiple reactor tuberculosis breakdown decreased for herds at least 1000 m away from an infected badger sett, and increased as the number of infected badgers per infected sett increased. Despite the significantly reduced risk of a breakdown with increasing distance to infected badger setts, the relationship was not strong (sensitivity and specificity of the model in the low 70% range) and explained only 919% of tuberculosis breakdowns.


Badger; Tuberculosis; Epidemiology; Bovine; Cattle; Herd; Distance; Exposure; Etiologic fraction; Odds ratio; Logistic regression; Generalised estimating equations

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