Risk of tuberculosis cattle herd breakdowns in Ireland: effects of badger culling effort, density and historic large-scale interventions

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Title: Risk of tuberculosis cattle herd breakdowns in Ireland: effects of badger culling effort, density and historic large-scale interventions
Authors: Byrne, Andrew W.
White, Paul
McGrath, Guy
O'Keeffe, James
Martin, S. Wayne
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/7743
Date: Oct-2014
Abstract: Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) continues to be a problem in cattle herds in Ireland and Britain. It has been suggested that failure to eradicate this disease is related to the presence of a wildlife reservoir (the badger). A large-scale project was undertaken in the Republic of Ireland during 1997–2002 to assess whether badger removal could contribute to reducing risk of cattle herd breakdowns in four areas. During the period of that 'four area' study, there was a significant decrease in risk in intensively culled (removal) areas relative to reference areas. In the present study, we revisit these areas to assess if there were any residual area effects of this former intervention a decade on (2007–2012). Over the study period there was an overall declining trend in bTB breakdown risk to cattle herds. Cattle herds within former removal areas experienced significantly reduced risk of breakdown relative to herds within former reference areas or herds within non-treatment areas (OR: 0.53; P < 0.001). Increased herd breakdown risk was associated with increasing herd size (OR: 1.92-2.03; P < 0.001) and herd bTB history (OR: 2.25-2.40; P < 0.001). There was increased risk of herd breakdowns in areas with higher badger densities, but this association was only significant early in the study (PD*YEAR interaction; P < 0.001). Badgers were culled in areas with higher cattle bTB risk (targeted culling). Risk tended to decline with cumulative culling effort only in three counties, but increased in the fourth (Donegal). Culling badgers is not seen as a viable long-term strategy. However, mixed policy options with biosecurity and badger vaccination, may help in managing cattle breakdown risk.
Funding Details: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
University College Dublin
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: BioMed Central
Copyright (published version): 2014 the Authors
Keywords: Bovine tuberculosis;Cattle;Badger;Cull;Intervention
DOI: 10.1186/s13567-014-0109-4
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Veterinary Medicine Research Collection
CVERA Research Collection

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