In domestic livestock in North America throughout the

In bTB control programs, intradermal tuberculin skin test
(TST) is used to identify infected cattle (Cheng et al. 2016). Any animal having a
positive skin test to M. bovis
antigens are culled, regardless if the animal is showing signs infection (Domingo et al.
2014). Countries like Austria, Belgium, France, Canada, and parts of the USA
have been successful in the control of bTB in cattle herds by using national
eradication policies. Despite the success of
eradicating bTB in domestic livestock in North America throughout the last
century, many infected wildlife reserves have appeared, making the potential
for outbreaks an ongoing concern (Brook and McLachlan
2006). Testing herds for bTB varies in frequency depending on the country and
the level of the disease (Green et al. 2008). In the EU, herds are
tested every one, two, three, or four years depending on the risk of the herd
and other set criteria (Green et al. 2008). The UK eradication
program initially decreased bTB positive cattle by 96% from 1961 to 1979
(Allen et al. 2010). However, since 1990,
outbreaks in herds have increased 14% annually (Allen et al. 2010). A main contributor to the increase in herd
outbreaks is the role of infected wildlife. The
Eurasian badger (Meles meles) has the
ability to be a susceptible host of M.
bovis that transmits the infection to cattle when they come into contact
(Allen et al. 2010). One study mass culled large badger populations to
confirm their role in the spread of bTB to cattle. The final recommendation of
the study was to improve cattle biosecurity and movement as a better method of
controlling bTB than culling the Eurasian badger population (Bovine
tuberculosis 2007).

The Taiwanese national bTB eradication
program has been in place since 1947 and it conducts annual TST testing and
restricts slaughter of infected animals. Even with more frequent TST testing,
bTB levels have been increasing from 0.13% to 0.2% between 2008 and 2014 (Cheng et al. 2016). Despite the UK having a very successful bTB eradication
program in the 1970’s, it has seen a resurgence of the disease that has
continued to grow each year. Other countries such as Taiwan, that have very
strict control measures, have not seen the same kinds of increase as the UK.
What is unknown is whether it is wildlife interactions in the UK that are driving
the numbers or strict control measure in countries like Taiwan contributing to
the success of their eradication program. A contributing factor to the
difference in control of bTB disease could be the quality of the reporting
systems. 

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