Between 1990 and 2000, 317 herds of cattle in Northern Ireland were identified as being seropositive to Brucella abortus, and 68 per cent of them were attributed to transmission from neighbouring herds or to local spread. Of particular significance were three primary outbreaks in 1997, which resulted in significant secondary and tertiary spread. Three spatial clusters were identified, corresponding to two of the primary outbreaks, and the herd density and within-herd spread were highest in the largest cluster. Abortions in an infected herd and the disease-risk status of the disclosure test were positively associated with an increased within-herd prevalence.
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