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Modelling bovine TB control strategies

A. Moustakas, M. R. Evans

BOVINE TB is a major problem for the cattle industry in the UK. This study aimed to use a computational model to explore the relative effects of different control strategies on TB in the UK.

The model included a range of variables, including a map of badger and cattle population densities; badger and cattle movements; and bovine TB prevalence in different areas. Different control strategies were then added to the model, including badger culling, housing cattle in the winter, and cattle testing. The model was run a number of times and the outcomes analysed.

The results showed that a range of factors affected the number of bovine TB-infected cattle, including the proportion of cattle moved each year; the distance cattle were moved; transmission rates between cattle and from badgers to cattle; the amount of time between bovine TB testing in cattle; test accuracy; badger culling; and the initial number of infected badgers. However, the variables that had the most impact on bovine TB in cattle were the proportion of cattle moved, which was positively correlated with infection rates in cattle; the frequency of TB testing, with more infected animals being detected when the inter-test intervals were …

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