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Outbreak of bovine tuberculosis featuring anergy to the skin test, udder lesions and milkborne disease in young calves
  1. M. G. Houlihan, MVB, MSc, MRCVS1,
  2. F. W. Dixon, BVM&S, MRCVS2 and
  3. N. A. Page, BVSc, MRCVS2
  1. 1 Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Kendal Road, Harlescott, Shrewsbury SY1 4HD
  2. 2 DEFRA Animal Health, Worcester Division, Whitehall, Monk Moor Road, Shrewsbury SY2 5AJ
  1. Mr Dixon retired in March 2008


A severe outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in a 1300-head, multisite dairy herd in Great Britain had several unusual features, including anergy to the tuberculin skin test, milkborne disease in calves and a farm cat, and a risk of human infection. The outbreak was controlled by culling 221 cattle over 15 months, by using the γ-interferon (γ-ifn) test and by the examination of milk samples. The γ-ifn test detected infected animals that were not detected by the skin test.

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