There is evidence that infectious diseases in
cattle can be related to soil-type and geology.
For example, a link between soil type and
geology has been found with paratuberculosis, a similar organism to
bovine TB. Paratuberculosis is disease of cattle caused by M. paratuberculosis
gives rise to Johne's Disease in cattle. The disease has been found
to persist in regions with acid soils, but not with alkaline,
calcareous soils. In particular, research in the south-west of
England, where bovine TB can be found in cattle, reported that
paratuberculosis was only found in areas containing acid soil.
The prevalence of other diseases is also related
to soil-type. For example, anthrax in cattle has been associated
with calcareous soils, especially in poorly drained areas.
Despite this evidence, the UK Government is
still not properly and rigorously investigating soil type and
geology. The only attempt to do so, is through a limited question on
the TB99 form, which only gives a choice of six soil options, and
does not record the important pH factor which influences the
survival of pathogens in the soil.
effect of soil-type, topography and geology should be investigated
fully in attempting to understand the epidemiology of TB in badgers
and cattle. The new epidemiological questionnaire (TB99) is
insufficient for this