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Improving use of available controls against bovine tuberculosis

Despite increasing surveillance, outbreaks of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in the UK have steadily increased over the past two decades, with the disease now costing an estimated £100 million per annum in test and slaughter costs, and compensation payments. Research by Professor Wood and Drs McKinley and Conlan has determined that successful control efforts will depend upon within-herd surveillance and also on reducing reintroduction from external sources; these results have directly altered the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) new (July 2013) bovine TB strategy for England, which directly cites Dr Conlan’s research when justifying changes in proposed regulations. On publication this research prompted questions during bovine Tuberculosis debates in both Westminster and the Scottish Parliament by Andrew George (MP, St. Ives) and Helen Eadie (MSP, Cowdenbeath) respectively. The work has also received national and specialist media coverage raising public awareness and understanding of bTB control in cattle.

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