Bovine tuberculosis trends in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, 1995–2010

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Selected demographic features and trends in bovine tuberculosis (BTB) from 1995 to 2010 are described for the countries of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, using standardised definitions and measures. All countries experienced a reduction in the number of cattle and herds and in the proportion of dairy herds, while average herd size increased. In general, the trends indicate a stable situation of very low BTB prevalence in Scotland and, over most of the period, a rising prevalence in England and Wales. The prevalence in the Republic of Ireland declined while Northern Ireland experienced both a rise and fall. Differences in demography, BTB programme structure and test results were noted, particularly between the island of Ireland and Great Britain. Further investigation of these differences may provide valuable insights into risk factors for BTB and optimisation of existing BTB programmes.

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