The Deer Initiative



Published date: 26/09/2017

Cattle keepers in HS21

As a result of monitoring Tuberculosis (TB) in cattle over recent years, APHA detected an unexpectedly high number of confirmed cases in a cluster of farms in the Shap area of the Eden Valley. In September 2016, a zone of approximately 250 square kilometres, known as Hotspot 21, was identified to undertake surveillance for evidence of TB in wildlife.

Information regarding the Hotspot and wildlife surveillance has been published directly to cattle keepers in the area and to the wider community through private vets, the NFU and livestock auctions to encourage the submission of carcases of badgers and deer. The carcases that are suitable for testing undergo a post mortem examination and samples submitted to central APHA laboratories to search for the TB causing bacteria Mycobacterium bovis (M.bovis). This wildlife collection and testing programme is on-going and details of this with a map of the Hotspot 21 area have been attached below.

APHA records show that the rate of detection of new cases of TB in cattle is reducing within this hotspot area and suggests that the current national TB disease control strategy is delivering results. Despite this encouraging trend, we now have knowledge that TB bacteria has been found within the local wildlife because the APHA surveillance programme has isolated M. bovis from 2 badger carcases collected in the area. Although the total number of wildlife carcasses submitted has been low, this finding is particularly significant because the bacteria identified matches the specific type of bacteria (genotype) that has been identified in the cattle on farms within Hotspot 21.

Infection within wildlife has the potential to lead to further spread of the disease within the cattle population and therefore a prompt and robust response is required The immediate response to this development requires the strengthening of the current disease control policies in cattle and to enhance wildlife surveillance in order to assess the potential level of infection in the wildlife and the risk of spread to cattle.

APHA policy and expert scientists of the APHA National Wildlife Management Centre agree that the appropriate intervention strategy for disease control in wildlife populations will be based on the information determined from the enhanced surveillance. Details of these additional measures are outlined in the Annex in the link below. APHA will lead this response and closely monitor the situation and hope to work cooperatively with the farming industry and landowners for the implementation of the extra measures required. 

Emails / links / downloads

File: APHA Letter & Annex


File: HS21 MAP

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