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Trends Microbiol. 2010 Feb;18(2):67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2009.11.002. Epub 2009 Nov 26.

Public health and bovine tuberculosis: what's all the fuss about?

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Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 334, Basseterre, St Kitts, West Indies.


Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in UK cattle is increasing rapidly. Consequently, the UK Government is spending escalating sums of money in attempts at disease control. We propose that bTB control in cattle is irrelevant as a public health policy. In the UK, cattle-to-human transmission is negligible. Aerosol transmission, the only probable route of human acquisition, occurs at inconsequential levels when milk is pasteurised, even when bTB is highly endemic in cattle. Furthermore, there is little evidence for a positive cost benefit in terms of animal health of bTB control. Such evidence is required; otherwise, there is little justification for the large sums of public money spent on bTB control in the UK.

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