TB confirmed in Scottish herd
BOVINE tuberculosis has again reared its head in Scotland, with the Scottish Government yesterday confirming that a “number of cattle” in a 340 cow herd in Upper Nithsdale in Dumfriesshire had contracted the disease.
With testing still ongoing, the government spokeswoman said it was not possible to give an exact figure on the numbers involved or those that had been slaughtered. She said the herd was not closed and said the case highlighted the importance of good slaughterhouse surveillance as a supplement to the on-farm testing regime for the detection and control of TB.
“The case is being fully investigated, but there do not appear to be any implications for Scotland’s bovine TB-free status,” she said.
The Dumfriesshire outbreak follows a major farm outbreak at Ballencrieff, Bathgate, in April this year where more than 60 cattle were slaughtered following confirmation they had TB.
In that case, the actual TB strain was identified as being a fairly widespread and common type although, some four months on, the source of the infection has still not been traced.
The government spokeswoman said it was not unusual for the origin of an outbreak to remain unknown Unlike England and Wales, where the disease is endemic, Scotland has been officially recognised as TB-free by the EU for more than two years, on the basis of it having a sustained low disease incidence.
The rules governing TB-free status allow for a number of TB outbreaks over a given period, and NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said the good news for Scotland was that the number of cases recorded this year was below average.
“While the source of the case will be investigated, outbreaks of this scale serve as a reminder to all cattle keepers that the disease is still a major threat and there is a need for ongoing vigilance when sourcing cattle,” he said.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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