22 November 1999
Farm family fear of TB from cattle

By FWi staff

GLOUCESTERSHIRE health officials will this week investigate whether two members of a farming family have caught tuberculosis from their cattle.

Cases of bovine TB have been found in their herd, but county health officials say it is too early to say whether this has any connection with the human cases of the disease.

Dr David Hunt of Gloucestershire Health Authority told Radio 4s Farming Today: “You have to ask yourself, is there a connection in this case between the human and cattle disease.

“Or is it the long arm of co-incidence which is something which sometimes happens as well?

“We have to accept that there are things we cant explain fully and at the moment we dont know.

“The question now is whether the organisms from the human beings are the same or a different strain from the organisms in cattle.”

Dr Hunt said microbiologists were investigating that question, but first had to revive old cultures and get them growing again before tests could take place.

He said both processes were difficult and sophisticated.

Trial badger culls are currently taking place to establish whether TB in badgers can be transferred to cattle.