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BCG-vaccinated cattle less infectious to other cattle, study finds
The UK government is currently conducting its own research into a deployable vaccine for cattle.
Study in Ethiopia suggests elimination of bovine TB in country is possible.

TB-infected cattle that have previously been given the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine are less infectious to other cattle, a new study has found.
The research, led by the University of Cambridge and Penn State University, found that the BCG vaccine reduced TB transmission between cattle by 74 per cent per cent.

It is the first time this indirect benefit of the vaccine has been measured by scientists.

Conducted in Ethiopia, the study made use of livestock census and movement data to develop a transmission model.

Ethopia has the largest cattle population in Africa, but currently lacks a control programme for bovine TB. Intensive testing and slaughtering infected animals, as carried out in countries such as the UK, is considered to be unfeasible to implement in Ethiopia and other similar countries due to social and economic reasons.

Professor Conlan, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Cambridge's Department of Veterinary Medicine and one of the authors of the study, said: "Results of the model suggest that vaccinating calves within the dairy sector of Ethiopia could reduce the reproduction number of the bacterium -- the R0 -- to below 1, arresting the projected increase in the burden of disease and putting herds on a pathway towards elimination of TB.”

The UK government is currently conducting its own research into creating a deployable vaccine and new DIVA skin test for bovine TB. Currently, the UK does not use the BCG vaccine because it can lead to vaccinated cattle giving false positive test results.

James Wood, Alborada professor of equine and farm animal science at the University of Cambridge's Department of Veterinary Medicine, said: "For over twenty years the UK government has pinned hopes on cattle vaccination for bovine tuberculosis as a solution to reduce the disease and the consequent costs of the controls.

“These results provide important support for the epidemiological benefit that cattle vaccination could have to reduce rates of transmission to and within herds."

The study has been published in the journal Science.

Image © Shutterstock

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RCVS Knowledge appoints Veterinary Evidence editor-in-chief

News Story 1
 RCVS Knowledge has welcomed Professor Peter Cockcroft as editor-in-chief for Veterinary Evidence.

A world-renowned expert in evidence-based veterinary medicine, Prof Cockcroft will lead the strategic development and editorial quality of the open-access journal. He was previously in the role from 2017-2020.

Katie Mantell, CEO of RCVS Knowledge, said: "We are excited about the extensive knowledge of evidence-based veterinary medicine and clinical veterinary research that Peter brings, and we look forward to working with him over this next phase of the journal's development." 

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News Shorts
Defra to host bluetongue webinar for vets

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will be hosting a webinar for veterinary professional on bluetongue on Thursday, 25 April 2024.

Topics covered will include the transmission cycle, pathology and pathogenesis, clinical signs (including signs seen in recent BTV-3 cases in the Netherlands), and control and prevention.

The session, which will take place from 6pm to 7.30pm, is part of Defra's 'Plan, Prevent and Protect' webinar series, which are hosted by policy officials, epidemiologists and veterinary professionals from Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. The bluetongue session will also feature insights from experts from The Pirbright Institute.

Those attending will have the opportunity to ask questions. Places on the webinar can be booked online.