22 October 1999

Climate linked to breakdowns

MOST cattle TB breakdowns occur in spring, with a smaller peak in autumn, according research by Elaine King of the National Federation of Badger Groups.

Her research used 10 years of climate and cattle TB incidence data in Bude, Cornwall, investigated using a specialised computer programme.

Survival of bacteria

She believes that climate patterns could be used to predict breakdowns in cattle.

Although the climate itself isnt having an effect, there is a relationship – possibly associated with the survival of the M Bovis bacteria which causes TB.

"We need to identify high risk situations and to consider altering management to reduce TB infection risks.

Climate may also affect an animals susceptibility to infection, which should be looked at in detail," added Dr King.