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20 Nov 2003
 
 
Bovine Tuberculosis

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many carcasses of red deer, other deer and wild mammals have been examined in each of the past 10 years; and how many were found to be infected with bovine tuberculosis in each of the last 10 years.[HL5460]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Table 1 shows the number of wild and farmed deer carcasses investigated for TB between 1992 and 2002 and the number of samples where mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) was found following bacteriological culture. Data are not separately available for red deer.

Table 1

Year Total number of deer tissue submissions investigated by Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) Number of confirmed TB cases in wild deer Number of confirmed TB cases farmed/park deer Total number of deer confirmed with TB
1992 50 0 1 1
1993 33 1 0 1
1994 21 1 0 1
1995 £ 3 0 3
1996 +17 11 0 11
1997 11 3 0 3
1998 37 6 1 7
1999 49 7 3 10
2000 39 3 6 9
2001 28 0 1 1
2002 54 3 10 13

£ Data not available + Most accurate data currently available

Table 2 shows the number of badger carcasses from road traffic accidents (RTA) examined and the percentage found to be infected with M. bovis between 1992 to 1996 in England and Wales.


Table 2 Number of road traffic accident (RTA) badgers and percentage of M. bovis infection 1992 to 1996 in England and Wales

Year Total number of RTA badgers sent for post-mortem Percentage of M. bovis infection in RTA badgers
1992 163 8.6%
1993 230 13.5%
1994 401 10.7%
1995 485 10.1%
1996 608 13.7%

*The randomised badger culling trial (RBCT) was implemented in 1998. The RTA survey results are embargoed until the Trial reports.

The RTA survey was suspended in 1997 pending completion of the report on bovine tuberculosis in cattle and badgers by Professor John Krebs and the Independent Scientific Review Group. This suspension resulted in a loss of data. Professor Krebs recommended the reintroduction of the RTA survey, particularly for areas of new breakdowns. The Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (ISG) took this recommendation on board when it was formed, and a limited RTA survey recommenced in 2000.

Table 3 shows the number of badgers taken by Defra and the percentage found to be infected with M. bovis between 1992 to 1996 in England and Wales.


20 Nov 2003 : Column WA362

Table 3
Number of Defra-taken badgers and percentage of M. bovis infection 1992–96 in England and Wales

Year Total MAFF/Defra-taken badgers sent for post-mortem Percentage of M. bovis infection in MAFF taken badgers
1992 1054 20.0%
1993 1093 27.4%
1994 1708 22.4%
1995 1691 25.1%
1996 2104 22.8%

Data are only available up to 1996. The ISG has recommended that pending completion of the randomised badger culling trial, interim reports on numbers and locations of badgers culled and TB prevalences should not be published in order to avoid encouraging illegal action against badgers, deterring participation in the trial and to protect the trial's statistical validity.

are also two research projects under way which are looking at TB in wildlife other than badgers. Summary details are given in the table below:


Table 4

Title of Research Project Start Date End Date
The risk to cattle from M. bovis in wildlife species other than badgers 1 May 1999 30 April 2004
The risk to cattle from wildlife species other than badgers in areas of high herd breakdown risk. 1 January 2000 28 February 2004

The research projects are proceeding according to plan. Following completion the findings of each project will be published.


20 Nov 2003 : Column WA363

Farms: Tuberculosis Testing

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the survey carried out by the British Cattle Veterinary Association published in May 2003, which showed that 48 per cent of farms listed as being overdue a tuberculosis test should not have been on the list, whether these apparent overdue errors were due to inefficiencies within the offices of divisional managers; and, if so, what action they have taken to improve the accuracy of data on their tuberculosis database.[HL5461]

Lord Whitty: We are aware of the BCVA survey. The nature of TB testing is such that most TB tests are completed on or shortly after their due date. Delays in the submission of test results from local veterinary practices, or delays in the input of those test results on to the database when they have been received at animal health offices, could result in some tests appearing as outstanding when the tests have been carried out.

Early in 2002, pressure of work following the foot and mouth disease outbreak may have led to delays in the input of test results on to the database, but this position is now much improved.

Herds with tests overdue by more than three months are now put under movement restrictions. Because of this, careful checks are made to ensure that all tests that have been done (and results received) are entered on to the database. This initiative, alongside the efforts of local veterinary practices, has reduced the number of overdue TB tests to below the number overdue prior to the foot and mouth disease outbreak.


25 Jan 2002
Bovine TB

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list

25 Jan 2002 : Column 1170W

research projects associated with bovine TB, indicating for each (a) the cost in 2001–02 and (b) the total cost of the project. [29833]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 24 January 2002]: The Krebs badger field trial, TB99 epidemiological survey of risk factors which may dispose some farms to TB breakdowns and road traffic accident survey of badger carcases are projects associated with bovine TB. These were suspended for most of 2001–02, because of the foot and mouth disease emergency and little expenditure in respect of them has, therefore, been incurred in the present financial year. With the present resumption of work on these projects, revised costings are being drawn up but the total cost of the trial is expected to remain at £35 million over five years.

A list of individual research projects and their 2001–02 and total costs are given in the table. The list is subject to change as new projects come on stream and others end and costs are revised. The table represents the position at 23 January 2002.

£

Research project Cost in 2001–02 Total costs
Generation of vaccine candidates against Mycobacterium bovis 313,201 1,566,005
Testing of vaccine candidates for bovine tuberculosis using a low dose aerosol challenge guinea pig model 208,247 1,068,045
Testing TB vaccines in cattle 263,642 1,316,635
Development of badger vaccines 167,889 370,274
Antigen presenting cells and T cell responses to Mycobacterium bovis 400,000 1,200,000
Development of badger immunological reagents 152,908 432,642
Improved diagnostics for cattle 170,449 511,347
Cost-effectiveness of using the gamma interferon test in herds with multiple tuberculin reactors 38,850 124,682
Assessment of the economic impacts of TB and alternative control policies 48,049 156,959
Development and evaluation of strain typing methods for Mycobacterium bovis 387,810 1,275,223
An integrated approach to the application of Mycobacterium bovis genotyping for the control of bovine tuberculosis in GB 334,439 927,801
Survival of Mycobacterium bovis in laboratory made silage 4,408 4,408
Mycobacterium bovis pathogenesis 681,933 2,440,159
Pathogenesis and diagnosis of tuberculosis in cattle—complementary field studies 105,000 1,975,135
A spatial analysis using GIS of risk factors associated with TB incidents in cattle herds in England and Wales 11,683 188,373
Genome sequence analysis of Mycobacterium bovis 50,932 1,156,293
Ecological correlates of tuberculosis incidence in cattle 118,729 374,181
Quantification of the risk of transmission of bovine TB from badgers to cattle within localised areas 41,816 167,504
Integrated modelling of M. bovis transmission in badgers and cattle 276,540 902,769
The risk to cattle from Mycobacterium bovis infection in wildlife species other than badgers 460,945 1,214,788
The risk to cattle from wildlife species other than badgers in areas of high herd breakdown risk 195,822 608,095
Understanding the route of TB transmission from badgers to cattle 34,980 266,942
Develop innovative methods to estimate badger population density 268,572 882,090
Novel methods of estimating badger numbers in the wider countryside 70,201 230,426
An integrated study of perturbation, population estimation, modelling and risk 299,877 1,252,592
A molecular genetic analysis of badger social structure and bovine tuberculosis 162,451 766,069
Ecological consequences of removing badgers from an eco-system 323,625 1,000,810
Using herd depopulation for effectively controlling TB 26,758 26,758
Exploratory study to model the distribution and spread of bovine TB using multi-temporal satellite imagery 42,450 42,450
Application of postgenomics to reveal the basis of virulence, pathogenesis and transmissibility of M. bovis 350,000 3,318,624

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the merits of reintroducing the bovine TB programme; and if she will make a statement. [29999]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 24 January 2002]: The need to control bovine TB in herds remains a top priority for the Department. Before the restart of routine testing, and restart of the badger culling trial, veterinary risk assessments were made. The restart of the programme has been dependent on when counties were declared free of foot and mouth disease.