Herd size and bovine tuberculosis persistence in cattle farms in Great Britain.

Brooks-Pollock, E; Keeling, M; (2009) Herd size and bovine tuberculosis persistence in cattle farms in Great Britain. Preventive veterinary medicine, 92 (4). pp. 360-5. ISSN 0167-5877 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2009.08.022

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Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infection in cattle is one of the most complex and persistent problems faced by the cattle industry in Great Britain today. While a number of factors have been identified as increasing the risk of infection, there has been little analysis on the causes of persistent infection within farms. In this article, we use the Cattle Tracing System to examine changes in herd size and VetNet data to correlate herd size with clearance of bTB. We find that the number of active farms fell by 16.3% between 2002 and 2007. The average farm size increased by 17.9% between 2002 and 2005. Using a measure similar to the Critical Community Size, the VetNet data reveal that herd size is positively correlated with disease persistence. Since economic policy and subsidies have been shown to influence farm size, we used a simple financial model for ideal farm size which includes disease burden to conclude that increasing herd size for efficiency gains may contribute to increased disease incidence.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 19762099
Web of Science ID: 272226500013
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2458


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