Newly published reports that show “the most accurate and up-to-date picture of the spread of bovine TB in Wales” have revealed new incidents in areas thought to be relatively disease free.

The Welsh Assembly Government has published three new reports on its TB Health Check Wales initiative. The reports provide the most accurate and up-to-date picture of the spread of bovine TB in Wales.

Cows on the Roman Steps near Llyn Morwynion, Gwynedd, North Wales. Photo credit DS Pugh.TB Health Check Wales was set up by the Welsh Assembly Government‘s Bovine TB Eradication Programme to provide better evidence for policy makers and the industry on how far and widely the disease has spread in Welsh cattle herds.

The reports, published yesterday (Dec 8), show how 11,761 herds in Wales were tested over the 15-month period between October 2008 and December 2009.

Almost 4,000 of the herds tested were in areas of relatively low TB incidence, with some not due TB tests until 2012. However, 103 new TB incidents were identified – 52% of which were in north Wales in areas believed to be relatively disease free.
Welsh CVO Christianne GlossopWelsh CVO Christianne Glossop said: “One of the key principles of infectious disease control is rapid, early identification of infection. TB Health Check Wales is an important foundation stone of the eradication programme.
“It is clear that cattle play an important role in the transmission of bovine TB, and this exercise has provided us with valuable evidence for the future management of bovine TB.
She went on: “By identifying disease in areas of low incidence, it showed that we need to be vigilant and not allow TB to spread even further. It has also highlighted the importance of a regional approach to support the all Wales policies – a task taken forward with enthusiasm by the North Wales TB Eradication Board.”

Wales’ rural affairs minister Elin Jones added: “TB Health Check Wales […] has provided us with a body of evidence that has helped us in developing policies that will contribute towards the creation of TB free areas of Wales, and ultimately eradication of this disease.”

Main image © DS Pugh
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