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Herd-level risk factors of bovine tuberculosis in England and Wales after the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease epidemic

Johnston, W Thomas and Vial, F. and Gettinby, George and Bourne, F John and Clifton-Hadley, R.S. and Cox, D.R. and Crea, P. and Donnelly, Christl A. and McInerney, J.P. and Mitchell, A.P and Morrison, W.I. and Woodroffe, R. (2011) Herd-level risk factors of bovine tuberculosis in England and Wales after the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease epidemic. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 15 (12). e833–e840.

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Abstract

We present the results of a 2005 case–control study of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) breakdowns in English and Welsh herds. The herd management, farming practices, and environmental factors of 401matched pairs of case and control herds were investigated to provide a picture of herd-level risk factors in areas of varying bTB incidence. A global conditional logistic regression model, with region-specific variants, was used to compare case herds that had experienced a confirmed bTB breakdown to contemporaneous control herds matched on region, herd type, herd size, and parish testing interval. Contacts with cattle from contiguous herds and sourcing cattle from herds with a recent history of bTB were associated with an increased risk in both the global and regional analyses. Operating a farm over several premises, providing cattle feed inside the housing, and the presence of badgers were also identified as significantly associated with an increased bTB risk. Steps taken to minimize cattle contacts with neighboring herds and altering trading practices could have the potential to reduce the size of the bTB epidemic. In principle, limiting the interactions between cattle and wildlife may also be useful; however this study did not highlight any specific measures to implement.