In bTB control programs, intradermal tuberculin skin test(TST) is used to identify infected cattle (Cheng et al. 2016). Any animal having apositive skin test to M.
bovisantigens are culled, regardless if the animal is showing signs infection (Domingo et al.2014). Countries like Austria, Belgium, France, Canada, and parts of the USAhave been successful in the control of bTB in cattle herds by using nationaleradication policies. Despite the success oferadicating bTB in domestic livestock in North America throughout the lastcentury, many infected wildlife reserves have appeared, making the potentialfor outbreaks an ongoing concern (Brook and McLachlan2006).
Testing herds for bTB varies in frequency depending on the country andthe level of the disease (Green et al. 2008). In the EU, herds aretested every one, two, three, or four years depending on the risk of the herdand other set criteria (Green et al.
2008). The UK eradicationprogram 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 herdoutbreaks is the role of infected wildlife. TheEurasian badger (Meles meles) has theability 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 toconfirm their role in the spread of bTB to cattle. The final recommendation ofthe study was to improve cattle biosecurity and movement as a better method ofcontrolling bTB than culling the Eurasian badger population (Bovinetuberculosis 2007).
The Taiwanese national bTB eradicationprogram has been in place since 1947 and it conducts annual TST testing andrestricts 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 eradicationprogram in the 1970’s, it has seen a resurgence of the disease that hascontinued to grow each year. Other countries such as Taiwan, that have verystrict 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 drivingthe numbers or strict control measure in countries like Taiwan contributing tothe success of their eradication program. A contributing factor to thedifference in control of bTB disease could be the quality of the reportingsystems.