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Heterogeneity in the risk of Mycobacterium bovis infection in European badger (Meles meles) cubs

  • A. J. TOMLINSON (a1), M. A. CHAMBERS (a2), S. P. CARTER (a1), G. J. WILSON (a1), G. C. SMITH (a1), R. A. McDONALD (a3) and R. J. DELAHAY (a1)...

Summary

The behaviour of certain infected individuals within socially structured populations can have a disproportionately large effect on the spatio-temporal distribution of infection. Endemic infection with Mycobacterium bovis in European badgers (Meles meles) in Great Britain and Ireland is an important source of bovine tuberculosis in cattle. Here we quantify the risk of infection in badger cubs in a high-density wild badger population, in relation to the infection status of resident adults. Over a 24-year period, we observed variation in the risk of cub infection, with those born into groups with resident infectious breeding females being over four times as likely to be detected excreting M. bovis than cubs from groups where there was no evidence of infection in adults. We discuss how our findings relate to the persistence of infection at both social group and population level, and the potential implications for disease control strategies.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr A. J. Tomlinson, Fera, Woodchester Park, Nympsfield, Stonehouse GL10 3UJ, UK. (Email: Alexandra.tomlinson@fera.gsi.gov.uk)

References

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Keywords

Heterogeneity in the risk of Mycobacterium bovis infection in European badger (Meles meles) cubs

  • A. J. TOMLINSON (a1), M. A. CHAMBERS (a2), S. P. CARTER (a1), G. J. WILSON (a1), G. C. SMITH (a1), R. A. McDONALD (a3) and R. J. DELAHAY (a1)...

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