TB in family brings control call

26 November 1999

TB in family brings control call

By Farmers Weekly staff

THE government is under increased pressure to extend its controls against bovine tuberculosis after a farming family was confirmed to have the disease.

Junior farm minister Baroness Hayman will be asked to introduce emergency measures against bovine TB at a meeting with beef industry leaders next week.

The call for action comes as Gloucestershire health officials investigate whether two people with bovine TB contracted the disease from infected cattle on their farm.

Two unnamed people, aged between 15 and 44, are understood to be responding well to a course of antibiotics after it emerged last week that they had the disease.

The farm had previously suffered a TB breakdown in its cattle herd.

Although the bovine strain of TB is rarely found in humans, it can be transmitted, especially to those who come into close contact with infected cattle.

Barry Jones, chairman of the National Beef Associations TB committee, said the Gloucestershire incident illustrated the seriousness of TB outbreaks on farms.

“Now we have the possibility that farmers and farm-workers can get the disease from infection on their land,” he said.

Like many farmers, Mr Jones believes TB-infected badgers transmit the disease to cattle and that more outbreaks are increasing the risk to humans.

On Monday (29 November), he will ask MAFF to sanction the culling of badgers on livestock farms infected with bovine TB.

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