DEFRA starts using gamma interferon test more to tackle TB

The number of gamma interferon tests being carried out in England and Wales to detect bovine tuberculosis will increase from Monday (23 October).


The gamma interferon test will be used in parallel with the existing skin test, particularly to prevent disease becoming established in areas where there is little infection.


The gamma tests will be carried out in certain specific circumstances including on cattle which have given a negative skin test but which are in herds with new TB incidents in low-risk areas. 


However, the test will also be available as a tool to help control disease in high-risk areas.


Scientific and veterinary studies have suggested that wider use of gamma interferon, in a controlled and targeted way, could improve the wider testing regime – especially in preventing low risk or clean areas from developing into TB hotspots.


The government will pay for all gamma interferon tests which the State Veterinary Service carries out.