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TB testing of cattle in parts of east Cumbria is being stepped up after it was confirmed last week that Mycobacterium bovis had been found in badgers in the county for the first time since the 1980s.
Cumbria is part of the low-risk area of England for bovine TB and therefore falls under a protocol of four-yearly testing and enhanced surveillance during local outbreaks.
However, since November 2014, a 250 square mile hotspot has existed following detection of bovine TB in cattle. It is in this hotspot, known as the Shap cluster or hotspot 21 (HS-21), that M bovis has been detected in roadkill badgers, and so herds there will now move to six-monthly testing as part of measures to try to control the spread of the disease.
Surveillance of badger setts to assess badger activity has also been initiated in the hotspot, starting with affected farms. Farmers are being …
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