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The role of badgers in the epidemiology of Mycobacterium bovis infection (tuberculosis) in cattle in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland: current perspectives on control strategies

Authors Ni Bhuachalla D, Corner LA, More S, Gormley E

Received 10 September 2014

Accepted for publication 21 October 2014

Published 19 December 2014 Volume 2015:6 Pages 27—38


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Takashi Agui

Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla,1 Leigh AL Corner,1 Simon J More,1,2 Eamonn Gormley1

1School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; 2Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Abstract: Bovine tuberculosis (TB), caused by infection with Mycobacterium bovis, is a persistent problem in cattle herds in Ireland and the United Kingdom, resulting in hardship for affected farmers and substantial ongoing national exchequer expenditure. There is irrefutable scientific evidence that badgers are a reservoir of M. bovis infection and are implicated in the transmission of infection to cattle. A range of options for the control of TB in badgers is currently available or under development including culling of badgers, vaccination of badgers and cattle, and improved biosecurity to limit contact between the two species. It is unlikely that the eradication of TB from cattle will be achieved without the reservoir of M. bovis infection in badgers being controlled. The chances of success will, however, improve with greater knowledge of the disease in both species and an understanding of the epidemiological drivers of the transmission of infection between badgers and cattle.

Keywords: Mycobacterium bovis, badgers, tuberculosis, cattle, vaccination, culling

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