The Northern Ireland programme for the control and eradication of Mycobacterium bovis

D. A. Abernethy*, G. O. Denny, F. D. Menzies, P. McGuckian, N. Honhold, A. R. Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (SciVal)


Bovine tuberculosis is endemic in Northern Ireland and a comprehensive eradication scheme has been in operation since 1959. The current programme involves annual testing, extensive computerized tracing, short-interval testing of herds contiguous to outbreaks and compulsory slaughter of positive cattle. Despite initial reductions in disease prevalence, eradication has proved elusive and potential explanatory factors include high cattle density and potential for between-herd contact, the impact of exotic diseases on resource priorities, and significant levels of bovine tuberculosis in a wildlife reservoir, the European badger (Meles meles). Both the role of the infected bovine and that of the badger in spreading disease have to be addressed to ensure progress towards eradication. Current measures are described and future options for enhancing the programme are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-237
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number2-4 SPEC. ISS.
Early online date01 Dec 2005
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Control
  • Eradication


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