Number of herds testing positive for TB increases

More than 1,700 herds failed TB tests in the second quarter of the year, according to the latest Department of Agriculture statistics.
More than 1,700 herds failed TB tests in the second quarter of the year, according to the latest Department of Agriculture statistics.

Declan O’Brien

The proportion of cattle herds testing positive for TB has increased marginally compared to 2018, despite the serious efforts being made to eradicate the disease.

More than 1,700 herds failed TB tests in the second quarter of the year, according to the latest Department of Agriculture statistics. This equates to 3.10pc of the 58,000 herds tested. This compares with a failure rate of 2.88pc during the same period in 2018.

The figures also show that the total number of herds restricted during the second quarter of 2019 was 2,008. This is slightly higher than 2018 when the figure was 1,852 herds.

However, the number of reactors has reduced by 614, dropping from 7,703 last year to 7,089 for the period to the end of June 2019.

“While this is to be welcomed, it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions on this reduction at this stage,” the Department states.

The number of reactors per 1,000 animals has also fallen from 2018 to 2019. Last year it was 1.79 per 1,000 head, but this year it has dropped to 1.52 per 1,000.

The areas with the highest number of reactors per 1,000 head tested are Wicklow East and Wicklow West, with rates 6.07 and 4.07 respectively.

Monaghan, which has had serious difficulties with TB recently, had 2.84 reactors per 1,000 head tested. Meanwhile, high TB incidences were also recorded in Tipperary North, Clare and Cavan, where the rates were 2.46, 2.43 and 2.4 respectively.

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In total, 110,092 herds, or 98.2pc of all herds, enjoy TB-free status. 

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