Researchers Find That Cattle Tuberculosis Remains in Fields For Up to 4 Months

Researchers from the University of Warwick’s Department of Biological Sciences have found evidence that bovine tuberculosis remains in fields for up to 4 months. This means that long after an outbreak of bovine TB on a farm healthy cattle may still be exposed to the disease from pasture that had been used by infected cows any time in the previous 4 months.

University of Warwick researchers Professor Elizabeth Wellington and Jamie Young tested soil samples that they had exposed to bovine TB. After regular tests over the course of a year they found evidence that live bacteria were still present in the soil up to four months after the soil was first exposed to infection. They also found traces of the bacterial DNA up to a year after initial infection.

The research has clear implications for farmers in how they use fields which have hosted infected cattle or the silage from such fields.

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