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bTB: dual host element 'ignored for too long'
cow
Bovine TB costs the UK Government £100 million a year and has a serious impact on the cattle farming industry.
Targeting badger-badger TB spread has 'modest impact' on cattle

Reducing the spread of bovine TB from badger-to-badger has only a 'modest impact' on cattle infection, according to the results of a new study by the universities of Bristol and Cambridge.

Control strategies that target badger-to-cattle and cattle-to-cattle transmission are likely to be more effective, said researchers.

Their findings, which have been published in the Royal Society Proceedings B, suggest feedback between cattle and badgers is 'critical' for our understanding and control of the disease, which costs the UK Government around £100 million a year.

Prior to this study, research has generally focused on the disease in cattle or badgers, but not both.

Professor James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at Cambridge, said: "The dual host element of the disease has been ignored for far too long in the public debate about the disease."

Scientists used mathematical modelling techniques alongside data from various sources to predict the impact of bTB controls. Their work suggests that while bTB is likely to be almost eradicated in badgers and cattle when taken in isolation. Control is likely to be far more challenging, however, when both species are considered together.

Lead author Dr Ellen Brooks-Pollock, from the University of Bristol, explained: "Our findings show that in areas with badger infection, cattle-to-badger and badger-to-cattle transmission is critical to the whole system. You can’t just consider one species in isolation.

"Reducing badger-to-cattle transmission is likely to be more effective than reducing prevalence in badgers alone. This may have particular implications for badger vaccination programmes, depending on local incidence of badger infection."

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Defra extends applications to Zoo Animals Fund

News Story 1
 Defra has extended the deadline for applications for the 100 Million Zoo Animals Fund until 26 February 2021.

Launched in June 2020, the fund provides financial support for zoos and aquariums that have experienced a drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to 730,000 are available, which can be used to pay for essential costs and maintenance, including veterinary care, medicines, animal feed and staffing.

More information about the fund and details of how to apply can be found here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk