Cattle test positive for bovine TB on a farm in Cumbria Print this pagePrint this page

In a recent incident sixty-four animals, on a farm in Cumbria, reacted to the skin test. They have all been slaughtered. The farm concerned is a closed dairy herd near Penrith and it is understood that lesions were found on cattle there (presumably after slaughter or in carcass checks at the abattoir prior to the incident).

It is understood that the cattle were tested for bTB using the skin on 7/3/11 and numerous reactors were found. According to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), post mortem results are expected to confirm the disease.

Gonzalo Sanchez, north west veterinary lead for the AHVLA, said contiguous testing on surrounding farms was being carried out and stressed that everything possible was being done to identify the source of infection. He added: “Bovine TB outbreaks in Cumbria are very rare and there are serious implications for the affected cattle owner. We’re pursuing epidemiological investigations to find where it has come from and where it has gone to. We’re working really hard to locate the source of infection. We’re trying to assess how long the farm was infected – there was a previous clear test there 18 months ago. It is a very closed herd and there has not been movements of animals off or onto the farm recently. There is no evidence of wildlife infection.”

Mr Sanchez added: “Test results will be available in about three weeks and will tell us which area of the country this has originated from. Farmers in the area are well aware of the measures they can take to protect their herds. Bio-security must be kept to a high standard. All farmers must ensure they buy animals from three to four year bovine TB testing areas to reduce the risk of bringing the disease in.”

A wildlife survey is likely to be conducted in the area around the farm if all other testing does identify a source of infection. Most cattle in Cumbria are tested for bovine TB every four years. There were three bovine TB outbreaks in Cumbria last year. The county is relatively clear of the disease, unlike in the south west of England where it is said to be endemic and it is having a devastating effect on hundreds of dairy and other farmers who have to test at intervals that can be as short as every six months, in addition to pre movement testing.

Posted 24/4/11
In a recent incident sixty-four animals, on a farm in Cumbria, reacted to the skin test. They have all been slaughtered. The farm concerned is a closed dairy herd near Penrith and it is understood that lesions were found on cattle there (presumably after slaughter or in carcass checks at the abattoir prior to the incident).

It is understood that the cattle were tested for bTB using the skin on 7/3/11 and numerous reactors were found. According to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), post mortem results are expected to confirm the disease.

Gonzalo Sanchez, north west veterinary lead for the AHVLA, said contiguous testing on surrounding farms was being carried out and stressed that everything possible was being done to identify the source of infection. He added: “Bovine TB outbreaks in Cumbria are very rare and there are serious implications for the affected cattle owner. We’re pursuing epidemiological investigations to find where it has come from and where it has gone to. We’re working really hard to locate the source of infection. We’re trying to assess how long the farm was infected – there was a previous clear test there 18 months ago. It is a very closed herd and there has not been movements of animals off or onto the farm recently. There is no evidence of wildlife infection.”

Mr Sanchez added: “Test results will be available in about three weeks and will tell us which area of the country this has originated from. Farmers in the area are well aware of the measures they can take to protect their herds. Bio-security must be kept to a high standard. All farmers must ensure they buy animals from three to four year bovine TB testing areas to reduce the risk of bringing the disease in.”

A wildlife survey is likely to be conducted in the area around the farm if all other testing does identify a source of infection. Most cattle in Cumbria are tested for bovine TB every four years. There were three bovine TB outbreaks in Cumbria last year. The county is relatively clear of the disease, unlike in the south west of England where it is said to be endemic and it is having a devastating effect on hundreds of dairy and other farmers who have to test at intervals that can be as short as every six months, in addition to pre movement testing.

Following update posted 13/6/11

More than 20 farms in Cumbria will be tested for bovine tuberculosis after the outbreak on the farm near Penrith, which led to the slaughter of 100 animals.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has now extended testing to cattle within 3km (1.8 miles) of the outbreak. Any dead badgers or deer in the zone will also be tested.

Update 29/6/11 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-13965798

According to the BBC a second case of bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been discovered in Cumbria, near Penrith. It was found asas a result of the additional testing in the surveillance zone following the April outbreak..

The National Farmers Union said that while the new case was a "worry" for farmers, it was not unexpected given the amount of tests being carried out! Further testing and tracing work is now under way to find out if the case is related to the original TB case, but results are not expected for a number of weeks.

Info sources:
http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/cattle-culled-on-cumbrian-farm-in-suspected-bovine-tb-outbreak-1.830415?referrerPath=home

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-13708482

Update 17/8/11

According to the MP, Rory Stewart, writing in the Herald 23/7/11 there are some 200,000 cattle in Penrith and the Border and he believes the bTB answer can't just be "less restrictions and less badgers". He says the latest outbreaks did not come from badgers but almost certainly from cattle coming in from the South West. He cites the possible reasons as pre movement testing only picking up 70% of infected cattle; dealers can leave their cattle for a short time in non infected parishes then sell them at a auction mart as though they had alays been in a clean area; and it seems that a farmer can link a field to a field in a completely different county as a single holding and thus get round the necessity for pre-movement testing.


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