A comparison of badger activity in two areas of high and low bovine tuberculosis incidence of Northern Ireland

F. D. Menzies*, D. A. Abernethy, L. A. Stringer, C. Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


During 2005, a field survey of badger activity was carried out to evaluate differences between two areas with different levels of bovine tuberculosis (annual herd incidences of 16% and 4%) and to assess the awareness of herd keepers in relation to badgers. A random selection of herd keepers was interviewed and their farm land surveyed for the presence of badgers. The survey end point for each farm was the discovery of an active badger sett. Participation was very high in both areas (>80%). Evidence of badger activity was recorded on a higher proportion of farms in the area with a high tuberculosis herd incidence. However, when the difference in quality of agricultural land within each area was taken into account, a statistically significant association was not demonstrated. This suggests that the quality of agricultural land is a major determinant in the location of active badger setts. Nevertheless, the study did demonstrate the potential for increased exposure of cattle to badgers in the high incidence area. Herd keepers accurately identified the presence of badger setts on their land (positive predictive value = 97%) but herd keepers reporting the absence of badger setts/activities on their land were found to be less accurate. Overall, the conclusions from this study tend to reflect the findings observed in other studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1-2
Early online date24 Feb 2011
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Badgers
  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Farm survey
  • Meles meles
  • Mycobacterium bovis


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