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The impact of the number of tuberculin skin test reactors and infection confirmation on the risk of future bovine tuberculosis incidents; a Northern Ireland perspective

  • M. J. H. O'Hagan (a1), J. A. Stegeman (a2), L. P. Doyle (a1), L. A. Stringer (a1) (a3), E. A. Courcier (a1) and F. D. Menzies (a1)...

Abstract

Currently policies enabling cattle herds to regain Official Tuberculosis Free (OTF) status after a bovine tuberculosis (bTB) herd incident vary between individual parts of the British Isles from requiring only one negative single comparative intradermal tuberculin test (SCITT) herd test when bTB infection is not confirmed to needing two consecutively negative SCITT herd tests after disclosure of two or more reactors, irrespective of bTB confirmation. This study used Kaplan–Meier curves and univariable and multivariable Cox Proportional Hazard models to evaluate the effect of the number of SCITT reactors and bTB confirmation on the risk of future bTB herd incident utilising data extracted from the national animal health database in Northern Ireland. Based on multivariable analyses the risk of a future bTB herd incident was positively associated with the number of SCITT reactors identified during the incident period (hazard ratio = 1.861 in incidents >5 SCITT reactors compared to incidents with only one SCITT reactor; P < 0.001), but not with bTB confirmation. These findings suggest that the probability of residual bTB infection in a herd increases with an increasing number of SCITT reactors disclosed during a bTB herd incident. It was concluded that bTB herd incidents with multiple SCITT reactors should be subjected to stricter control measures irrespective of bTB infection confirmation status.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: M. J. H. O'Hagan, E-mail: Maria.O'Hagan@daera-ni.gov.uk

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