Welsh Government
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Reports give up to date picture of bovine TB in Wales

TB Health Check Wales was one of the first initiatives set up by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Bovine TB Eradication Programme. It was designed to provide better evidence for policy makers and the industry on how far and widely the disease has spread in Welsh cattle herds.

Three reports on this successful initiative have been published yesterday (Wednesday 8 December). The reports provide the most accurate and up to date picture of the spread of bovine TB in Wales and have resulted in changes to policies.

They also highlight how a concerted effort by the Welsh Assembly Government, Animal Health, Local Authorities and private vet practices have helped.

Over a fifteen month period between 1 October 2008 and 31 December 2009, 11,761 herds in Wales were tested.  Nearly 4000 of these herds were in areas of relatively low TB incidence with some not due TB tests until 2012.

During the Health Check 103 new TB incidents were identified in these herds, 52% of which were in north Wales in areas believed to be relatively disease free.

Elin Jones, Minister for Rural Affairs, welcomed the publication of the reports

“TB Health Check Wales was one of the first initiatives coming out from the TB Eradication Programme, and 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.”

Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, 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.

“TB Health Check Wales had a greater impact on Animal Health, farmers and vets in north Wales as this was where most of the additional tests took place. 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.”

Peredur Hughes, Chair of the North Wales Eradication board, said:

“We have made significant progress in the fight against Bovine TB in Wales, this is thanks to WAG, Animal Health, our local vets and indeed the not insignificant cooperation of the farming industry.

“When Health Check Wales started there was 378 backlog tests to be done and another 5000 herd to be tested in North Wales alone. All of this was completed on time.”

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