An analysis of the molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium bovis in badgers was made in four selected areas of the Republic of Ireland in which an intensive badger removal programme was being carried out over a period of five years. Tissue samples from 2310 badgers were cultured. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (rflp) analysis with is6110, polymorphic gc-rich sequence (pgrs) and direct repeat sequence (dr) probes was applied to the isolates from 398 badgers, and 52 different rflp types were identified. Most of the isolates belonged to seven predominant types, and the other 45 types were represented by few isolates. An analysis suggests that some of these 45 types may have been introduced by the inward migration of badgers and others may have been the result of genetic changes to one of the prevalent types. The badgers were divided into groups on the basis of the sett at which they were captured, and rflp typing was applied to isolates from two or more badgers from 85 groups. Multiple rflp types were identified among isolates from 50 of these groups, suggesting that badgers probably moved frequently between group territories.
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