Skip to main content

Bovine Tuberculosis

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cattle found to have TB lesions after slaughter in abattoirs had (a) passed and (b) failed the TB skin test in each year since 1997. (95951)

The following table gives the (i) number of TB skin test reactors confirmed by the identification of visible lesions at post-mortem examination and/or by laboratory analysis, (ii) the number of non-TB skin test reactor animals identified as potentially infected by TB at routine slaughter, i.e. ‘slaughterhouse cases’, and (iii) the number of slaughterhouse cases where bovine TB was confirmed by laboratory culture. All figures are for Great Britain.

(i) Total number of confirmed reactors

(ii) Total number of slaughterhouse cases

(iii) Total number of confirmed slaughterhouse cases

20061

4,663

456

247

2005

8,657

591

390

2004

6,422

389

239

2003

6,308

303

178

20022

6,993

386

193

20012

2,342

197

111

2000

3,644

242

132

1999

2,841

189

100

1998

2,272

120

58

1997

1 ,441

12

7

1 Provisional figures for Jan-August 2006. Data downloaded from the state veterinary service database on 27 September 2006 and subject to change as more data become available.

2 In 2001, the TB testing and control programme was largely suspended due to the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak. When testing resumed in 2002, resources were concentrated on herds with overdue TB tests which would have had a longer period in which to contract the disease. Also the proportion of high risk herds tested immediately after the FMD outbreak was greater than that prior to the outbreak. As a result, data for 2001 and 2002 are not comparable with other years.

Source:

State Veterinary Service database

Of the cases where lesions suggestive of bovine TB were identified during post-mortem examination (‘slaughterhouse cases’) it is not possible to identify how many had previously tested clear for TB. If this information was readily available it would still not be possible to state with certainty whether a slaughterhouse case with confirmed Mycobacterium bovis infection had acquired it before or after passing a TB skin test.

Carcase inspection at slaughter is an important surveillance tool. Its objective is to provide a safety net to identify Mycobacterium bovis in animals which have not been subject to testing prior to slaughter as well as cases which may have been missed by the skin test. Post-mortem inspection is also an important safeguard to human health.