TB figures: 'Fall' was a blip

UK - A careful analysis of Defra’s TB statistics has shown that the “30% fall” in incidence of the disease, which Defra Ministers have been using as a pretext for postponing a cull of diseased badgers, was nothing more than a short-term blip in the figures.
calendar icon 20 November 2006
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Although the number of new cases of disease in the first four months of the year did show a sharp decrease on the same period in 2005, it would appear that this was due to an under-recording of disease – probably associated with the use of a new type of Dutch tuberculin testing medium – rather than any genuine decline in the level of infection.

Defra’s latest figures, up to the end of September, show that in the five months between May and September, the number of new cases of TB was up by 13% on the same period in 2005, with new cases in September reaching a worst-ever peak for that month of 268, an increase of 18.5% on September 2005.

A spokesman for the NFU commented: “It is becoming more and more clear that the reported decrease in cases of TB was at best a blip and at worst a mirage.

"These figures show that the underlying trend is still moving dangerously in the wrong direction and leave Defra Ministers with no option but to implement measures to address the reservoir of disease in the badger population with no further prevarication.”

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