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Vet Microbiol. 2011 Jul 5;151(1-2):205-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2011.02.045. Epub 2011 Feb 24.

Managing public demand for badger rehabilitation in an area of England with endemic tuberculosis.

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Quantock Veterinary Hospital, Bridgwater, Somerset, UK.


Badgers are a popular and protected species in England, despite their association with tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis infection) in cattle. Casualty badgers are commonly presented to veterinarians and wildlife rescue centres following injury, as a result of disease, or as orphans. Strict policies are adopted for their rehabilitation and release, with respect to the prevention of spread of tuberculosis, these policies differ between adult badgers and badger cubs. Adult badger casualties are not normally tested for M. bovis infection prior to release, but are instead kept in isolation and released back where found. A study of casualty adult badgers found 10% to be positive on a single serological test. These animals had a variety of clinical signs that had resulted in none of them being released back to the wild. Badger cubs are serologically tested for evidence of M. bovis infection on three occasions during rearing; 13% were found to test positive. Positive animals were examined at post-mortem and cultures made for M. bovis; 12.5% of serologically positive animals were found to be culture positive. Alternative test methods and zoonotic risks are considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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