Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 38, Number 3, May-June 2007
Page(s) 465 - 479
Published online 11 April 2007
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2007) 465-479
Vet. Res. 38 (2007) 465-479
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2007003

A descriptive spatial analysis of bovine tuberculosis in intensively controlled cattle farms in New Zealand

Thibaud Porphyre, Joanna McKenzie and Mark Stevenson

EpiCentre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal, and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, PB 11222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

(Received 13 March 2006; accepted 26 October 2006; published online 11 April 2007)

Abstract - We describe the temporal and geographical distribution of confirmed cases of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in a population of cattle in the south-east of the North Island of New Zealand. Data were derived from routine TB testing conducted between 1980 and 2003 and included details for 69 farms. Four six-year periods were defined to coincide with changes in depopulation strategies against the wildlife TB reservoir, the brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula. For the periods 1980 to 1985 and 1986 to 1991 the median annual incidence rate of TB was 0.4 and 4.7 cases per 1000 cattle-years at risk, respectively. For the period 1992 to 2003 the median annual incidence rate of TB decreased to 1.8 cases per 1000 cattle-years at risk, coincident with the use of poisoning to control possums in the surrounding forest park (a major possum habitat area). We identified clusters of TB cases adjacent to the forest park and found no evidence of spatio-temporal interaction of TB risk among farms. Our findings support the hypothesis that possums living in the forest park are a source of bovine TB in this area and that farm-to-farm spread of disease was not an important infection mechanism.

Key words: bovine tuberculosis / cattle farm / brushtail possum / spatial epidemiology

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2007