Modified Human Vaccine May Protect Cattle From TB

UK - A vaccine to protect cattle against highly infectious bovine tuberculosis is to be tested in national herds within three to five years, following successful trials in laboratory animals.
calendar icon 31 July 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

Government vets plan to use a modified form of the human BCG vaccine to protect cattle from the disease, which was responsible for at least 20,000 animals being sent for slaughter last year.

The disease was almost eradicated from the national herd in the 1980s but there has been a dramatic resurgence since, with cases rising 14% year on year. The disease cost the taxpayer £80m last year in compensation paid to farmers.

The reason for the increase is unclear, but some experts believe that moves towards keeping cattle in confined spaces have exacerbated the spread of the disease. Another theory is that badger conservation efforts have helped to spread it because badgers harbour the disease before passing it on to cattle.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs highlights the disease as one of the most serious facing the farming community, with the cost of animal protection and farmer compensation predicted to reach £1bn for the period 2004 to 2012.

At the government's Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, Surrey, on-going trials of a modified form of the BCG vaccine in cattle have shown it is capable of substantially protecting animals from the disease.

Source: The Guardian

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