We do not have sensitive and
specific testing methods for differentiating truly diseased cattle, with
widespread infection ( rather than just picking up cattle that have met and
raised an immune response.). So many head of cattle are culled when not
openly infected. The problem in TB is that we do not have an effective vaccine
either. So we are faced with this huge dilemma: Any animal
that has met the disease and contained it, may under conditions of stress, other
illness or just older age ( also seen in humans) experience recrudescent disease
which is then infectious and so transmissible to other species including
man. Cattle and badgers both fall into this category.
are the present major reservoir, and if they are the source of this disastrous
increase in the infection in our herds, widespread and continued baiting with
more than one antibiotic may reduce the infectious load. This would be
potentially useful for the few often excluded animals that are heavily infected
and transmitting the organism. But we risk in this way also creating a resistant
strain of Mycobacterium bovis. and other gut bacteria' Oh how wonderful
it would be if we had an effective oral vaccine that could also be placed in
bait. Alas, in 2009 we do not have this facility.
could be oral contraceptive bait for badgers and thus a slow decline in numbers.
But we do not know how this would affect the hierarchy of colonies (nor for that
matter their pension arrangements).
In truth the organism is still one
step ahead and we simply do not know what is best for all the species
It is a very distressing time for everyone trying to address