Following epidemiological and ecological studies of a defined badger population in an area of East Sussex, removal of all badgers by cage trapping was attempted. Trapping was incomplete due to the activities of protesters. Forty-seven badgers were caught from the eight social groups. All badgers were examined clinically and samples of faeces, urine and tracheal aspirate were taken, together with swabs from any bite wounds, for bacteriological examinations. Forty-five animals were skin tested using whole killed cells of Mycobacterium bovis strain AN5, bovine PPD Weybridge and new human tuberculin. Skin test results were recorded after 24 and 72 h. All badgers were killed and subjected to a post-mortem and bacteriological examination.
M. bovis was detected in 10 (21·3%) badgers at post-mortem and in 2 badgers from clinical samples. Four social groups were infected. Positive skin test results were recorded at 72 h with bovine PPD (2 μg and 20 μg/ml), strain AN 5 (1 mg/ml) and human tuberculin (2 μg/ml), but not with human tuberculin at 20 μg/ml. Histological sections of the skin test reactions showed the cellular types typical of delayed-type hypersensitivity. The skin test reactions observed were neither sensitive nor specific enough to be of practical value.