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Just before the last General Election, a group of us signed a letter (VR, June 3, 2017, vol 180, p 546-547) summarising our opposition to fox hunting, an activity that the prime minister openly supported.
One of the points we raised concerned the potential spread of bovine TB (bTB) by the Kimblewick Hunt’s pack of hounds, which had become infected in 2016. The formal report of this outbreak of bTB in hounds has recently been published by Edinburgh University in association with APHA/Defra.1
Kimblewick’s approximately 180 hounds operate over six counties of England in the edge and low-risk area for bTB in cattle. In the report, the authors eloquently explain how molecular pathological techniques, including serology and interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA), have been developed for use in diagnosing bTB infection in dogs.
Of the 164 hounds that were tested, 97 had evidence of bTB infection. The authors state: ‘… it was assumed that any hound with a significant interferon-gamma response to at least one test antigen was infected and potentially infectious. Any such hound would therefore pose a risk to human and animal health, as well as to the environment and should be removed from the pack and euthanased.’
The most likely route of bTB infection in hounds was the feeding of bTB-infected meat
Consequently, these infected dogs were culled. The authors propose the most likely routes of infection for these hounds. Two broad conclusions are that:
The most likely route of bTB infection for hounds was feeding them bTB-infected meat. …
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