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Vet Microbiol. 2006 Feb 25;112(2-4):231-7. Epub 2005 Dec 1.

The Northern Ireland programme for the control and eradication of Mycobacterium bovis.

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Veterinary Service, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dundonald House, Belfast BT4 3SB, UK.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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