Eliminating bovine tuberculosis in cattle and badgers: Insight from a dynamic model

Ellen Brooks-Pollock*, James L N Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is a multi-species infection that commonly affects cattle and badgers in Great Britain. Despite years of study, the impact of badgers on BTB incidence in cattle is poorly understood. Using a two-host transmission model of BTB in cattle and badgers, we find that published data and parameter estimates are most consistent with a system at the threshold of control. The most consistent explanation for data obtained from cattle and badger populations includes within-host reproduction numbers close to 1 and between-host reproduction numbers of approximately 0.05. In terms of controlling infection in cattle, reducing cattle-to-cattle transmission is essential. In some regions, even large reductions in badger prevalence can have a modest impact on cattle infection and a multi-stranded approach is necessary that also targets badger-to-cattle transmission directly. The new perspective highlighted by this two-host approach provides insight into the control of BTB in Great Britain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1808
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2015


  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Disease control
  • Transmission dynamics
  • Type reproduction numbers


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