Surveillance genotyping (variable number tandem repeat profiling and spoligotyping) of Mycobacterium bovis isolates from culture-confirmed bovine tuberculosis (TB)-affected herds in Northern Ireland is presented for the years 2003 to 2008 inclusive. A total of 175 M bovis genotypes were identified in 8630 isolates from 6609 herds. On average, 73 genotypes were identified each year, with 29 genotypes present in all six years. Highly significant differences (P<0.0001) were observed between the relative frequency of some genotypes in the years 2003 to 2008. The spatial distribution of M bovis genotypes was not random (P<0.0001). Significant geographical localisation of M bovis genotypes was evident, suggesting that sources tended to be local. Despite regions being dominated by geographically localised genotypes, substantial and exploitable local diversity was still evident. Genotypes were also translocated significant distances from their normal geographical location.
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed