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Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress has been made towards distinguishing between vaccinated and infected (a) cattle and (b) wildlife in relation to bovine tuberculosis. (248221)

Tests to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (so called ‘DIVA’ tests) have been developed under DEFRA funded project SE3222: Development of improved diagnostic tests for detection of bovine TB, which is due to report this year. This work will be continued under project SE3233: Cattle TB Vaccine: Development of a DIVA test.

A DIVA test for cattle is required because vaccines based on BCG will potentially make cattle react to the current tuberculin test as if they were infected with Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis). Badgers and other wildlife are not routinely tested for TB and therefore there is no need to develop a DIVA test for use in this species.

Further information about these DEFRA-funded projects is available on the DEFRA website.