TB testing© Tim Scrivener

TB breakdowns in cattle remain contained to high-risk areas such as the South West, with limited spread into low-risk areas, according to figures released by Defra.

Results from the government’s mid-year report released today (11 November), which details the total number of breakdowns detected in cattle herds during January to June this year, found in many low-risk areas the number of confirmed cases had dropped.

In the South East, new breakdowns were 35% less compared with the same first six-month period in 2014.

See also: Latest TB stories

A decrease was also reported in Cheshire for the same period (52 breakdowns in 2015 compared with 77 in 2014).

The Midlands saw a slight increase in new incidents, with 80 cases compared with 71 in the equivalent six-month period in 2014.

The report said in Derbyshire the rise in cases was due to a “significant wildlife component”, whereas in Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire it was a mix of animals bought in and wildlife.

Although very few cases are reported in cattle north of Cheshire, the risk posed by cattle movements is high, with 400-500 live cattle movements taking place in Cumbria from other parts of England every month.

Vet Bridget Taylor of Wright and Morten said farmers in the North needed to be aware of the risks.

“It appears TB hasn’t yet spread northwards into cattle populations beyond Cheshire, although cases in Lancashire and Cumbria have occurred because of bought-in cattle arriving in those counties,” she said.

TB incidences Jan-Jun 2015 in low-risk areas