|Bovine tuberculosis endemic in british wildlife
| Picture: Â© Bayer Animal Health
This is the result of a newly published report: it confirmed that bovine tuberculosis (TB) has spread further into wildlife populations than was
previously thought, especially to the yellow-necked mouse, wood mouse, shrew, polecat, muntjac and stoat. And it also showed that deers are extremely vulnerable to bovine TB - up to 16% of them were tested positive.
|The report entitled `The Risk To Cattle From Wildlife Species Other Than Badgers In Areas Of High Herd Breakdown Risk` was published on 9 July 2004.
Carried out by the Central Science Laboratory, the study revealed that `deer could pose a significant risk` of spreading bovine TB to cattle and that other wildlife species were infected.
The CSL`s 4-year study in 7 English counties is the largest systematic survey for Mykobacterium bovis ever carried out in the UK.
It involved investigating nearly 5000 carcasses and, while prevalence of the disease was greater in badgers, risks posed by deer should no longer be overlooked, it stated.
The report estimated the UK deer population -- including farmed deer -- to be between 1.25 million and 2.6 million, compared with about 300 000 badgers. Between 1 and 15 percent (12 500-390 000) of the deer could be infected with bovine TB.
While 4.4 percent of the 504 fallow deer tested displayed symptoms, 16 percent of whole carcasses available tested positive.
The report also noted that deer were particularly vulnerable to bovine TB and often shared pasture, feed and water troughs with cattle.
The National Federation of Badger Groups` chief executive Elaine King said it was strange the report had been posted on the DEFRA website late with no press release or briefing.
`It`s now quite clear that bovine TB is endemic in wildlife across the UK,` said Dr King.
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