IN the wake of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks, bovine tuberculosis (TB) is now generally perceived to represent the greatest threat to cattle health in the UK. The incidence of bovine TB is rising, both in terms of the number of herds affected and in the number of cases per affected herd. Bovine TB is caused by Mycobacterium bovis, is characterised by the progressive development of granulomatous lesions (tubercles) in any body organ and can affect a large number of species, including humans. This article discusses how bovine TB is transmitted and diagnosed in cattle, and suggests some protocols for disease prevention and control.
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