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- PublicationA case study of bovine tuberculosis in an area of County Donegal, IrelandA descriptive analysis, to investigate the potential risk factors that might have contributed to the increased incidence of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) herd-breakdowns in the reference area of Co. Donegal during the fifth year of the four-area project (FAP), was performed. Seventy two different herds were restricted for BTB during the FAP; 10 of these herds were restricted twice, resulting in a total of 82 BTB breakdowns. During the first four years of the FAP, the number of BTB herd breakdowns in the area varied from a lowest of nine to a maximum of 18 per year, and were geographically dispersed. In the fifth year of the study a considerable increase in the number of BTB breakdowns (n = 32) was observed, and there was a spatial 'cluster' of infected herds in the eastern part of the study area. The increased number of BTB breakdowns during the fifth year most likely occurred because of the recrudescence of infection, herd-to-herd transmission and, to a lesser extent, purchase of infected cattle. Infected badgers remain as a possible but less likely source of infection, especially as an explanation for the cluster of infected herds. The analysis supports the hypothesis that BTB in herds is a problem that cannot be addressed successfully by dedicating our efforts to the elimination of single risk factors. Neither is it a problem that needs to be investigated only at the herd level, but rather at the area level, including groups of contiguous herds.
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