3 September 1999

TB analysis by RVC

CATTLE producers can help researchers identify the factors increasing risk of a TB breakdown on farms

Concern over increasing numbers of cattle herds experiencing TB breakdowns has prompted MAFF to fund research into transmission of the disease to be undertaken at the Royal Vet College, University of London.

Researchers will analyse responses to 600 questionnaires sent out randomly to farms that have, or have not, suffered a TB breakdown.

Each questionnaire will cover a range of events happening for a year or so before a test, including cattle movements, wildlife, feeding, breeding and stock purchases. Each response will be treated anonymously.

"We hope to build a picture of what occurred on farms for about a year before a test," says RVC lecturer Alasdair Cook. "We can then compare the history of farms suffering a TB breakdown with those which have not to establish the differences or similarities.

Results of the postal survey will be made available to cattle producers to help reduce the threat of a TB breakdown in their herds, he says.