Changes To Bovine TB Protocols

UK - Adjustments are being made to bovine TB protocols as Scotland approaches the first anniversary of being declared officially TB free.
calendar icon 13 August 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

So far the Scottish Government's Officially Tuberculosis Free (OTF) Implementation Plan has been successful in maintaining the country's low and stable incidence of TB. It has also helped identify the principal risk factors for the new incidents that continue to arise.

Glasgow University is currently carrying out research looking at long term options for more effective, targeted TB surveillance across Scotland and the results should be available by April 2011.

However, we have identified some interim adjustments to address the concerns being raised by Scottish cattle keepers and vets. They should reduce costs to keepers without incurring any additional risk of the spread of bovine TB.

The interim measures which are summarised below, also represent a shift in responsibility for managing the risk of TB incursion from cattle imported from non OTF Member states to traders, rather than taxpayers or the wider cattle industry.

Testing of neighbouring farms around confirmed TB outbreaks will be limited to those where nose to nose contact is possible. Follow up tests at six and 12 months will no longer be required.

Voluntary slaughter of inconclusive reactors born and kept in either Scotland or in a low incidence area and where there is no evidence of TB at post mortem or culture, will now trigger only a routine herd test after 12 months unless they can be related to an existing outbreak e.g. a traced animal.

Confirmed breakdown follow-up testing at six and 12 months will be replaced by one test in a six to 12 month window after OTF herd status is restored. This should allow the herd to return to testing at the most convenient time of year.

Unconfirmed breakdown testing at six and 12 months after OTF herd status is restored will no longer be required.

New herds formed from cattle born and kept in either Scotland or in a low incidence area, will revert to four yearly testing after a 12 month routine herd test. Those new herds that include cattle born or kept in a high incidence area will require a 12 month whole herd test.

In exceptional cases, a breakdown may be managed as if 'confirmed' even though visibly lesioned reactors have not been found. This would be on the basis of a link to an infected herd.

Annual testing of herds sustained by regular Irish imports will be limited to adult cattle, young cattle for breeding and cattle purchased since the last test.

Cattle imported from the Republic of Ireland will now be restricted at first destination pending a negative 60 day post import test. Any reactor cattle at the 60 day test will be slaughtered at the owner's expense although they should be able to realise the value of the carcase.

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