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Bovine TB
TB testing and levels of bovine TB in England
  1. Christine Middlemiss,
  2. Ricardo de la Rua-Domenech,
  3. Sara Downs,
  4. Graham Smith,
  5. Ele Brown,
  6. James McCormack,
  7. Claire Wade,
  8. Phil Hogarth and
  9. Zara Gerrard
  1. Defra, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR
  1. email: helpline{at}

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We read the recent news article on undetected bovine TB with some surprise (VR, 26 October 2019, vol 185, p 492).

While we know that the skin test can miss some infected animals, the simple extrapolations conducted by the Animal Welfare Group (AWG) to estimate the ‘reservoir’ of undisclosed cattle infection are flawed for several reasons.

First, the much higher proportion of false positive results that the interferon gamma (IFN-γ) blood test generates (approximately one in 30)1 relative to the comparative tuberculin …

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