Researchers have urged policy makers to field test any new strategy to control the spread of TB between badgers and cattle. The recommendation comes in a new study published in the British Ecological Societys Journal of Applied Ecology that reveals evidence of a close spatial association between bovine tuberculosis (TB) in badgers and cattle.
Using data from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, Dr Rosie Woodroffe and colleagues from the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB looked at local geographical associations between TB (Mycobacterium bovis) infection in badgers and cattle. They found that TB infection occurs in clusters in both badgers and cattle and these clusters are spatially associated on a scale of 1-2 km.
The study found that most TB-infected badgers are caught within 1km of infected cattle herds, while uninfected badgers live further from infected cattle, and that badgers and cattle carrying the same strain of TB live especially close together. “This suggests that TB is indeed transmitted between the two species - but this could be because cattle give TB to badgers, as well as badgers giving TB to cattle,” the authors say.
Becky Allen | alfa
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