Factors associated with herd restriction and de-restriction with bovine tuberculosis in British cattle herds

Camille Szmaragd, LE Green, GF Medley, William J Browne

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


The incidence of herd breakdown (HBD) with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) has continued to increase year on year since the 1980s in Great Britain. The management of bTB constitutes a major challenge for government and the cattle industry. Whilst various factors have been implicated with the risk of HBD with bTB, factors involved in recovery are less well described.

In this paper, we used a multilevel multistate model to identify the factors affecting the probability of a herd being placed under restriction following a bTB outbreak and the factors involved in those restrictions being lifted. By modelling both transitions within the same model, we control for unobserved herd-specific characteristics, and investigate the frequency of change between the restricted and derestricted states.

There were two patterns of herd breakdown: transient (characterised by fast cycling between restricted and derestricted states) and continuous (characterised by rare changes between the two states). The risk of a herd being placed under restriction was dominated by predictors related to cattle movements. The probability of derestriction increased with more regular testing. Some risks affected both transitions, namely loge mean size of neighbouring herds in the test-year, whether the herd bred its own replacements and the foot and mouth disease indicator of whether a bTB test was done between February 2002 and January 2003, possibly because the underlying true state of the herd, as infected or not, meant that these factors increased or reduced the risk of HBD. These results highlight that management of bTB is dependent on the true underlying herd status of bTB infection and that some confusion of the benefits or otherwise of some management practices, e.g. using home bred replacements can be explained by this underlying status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013

Structured keywords

  • Jean Golding


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