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Incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle in Great Britain

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  • Release date: 14 March 2018
  • Period covered: January 2015 to December 2017
  • Next update: 18 April 2018
Monthly data, produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), including statistics on tests, new incidents, herds under restriction and animals slaughtered.

The Defra National Statistics release, on which this statistical headline is based, now includes statistics on the basis of the Wales TB areas.

New TB herd incidents

Chart showing the trend in new herd incidents in Wales since 2008. There were 789 new incidents in the 12 months to December 2017, an increase of 11% compared with the previous 12 months.

  • In the 12 months to December 2017 there were 789 new herd incidents reported in Wales.
  • This is an 11 per cent increase on the previous 12 months, when there were 711 incidents.
  • The overall trend since 2009 is broadly downwards. However the trajectory is not consistent, with periods of rising and falling trends over that period.

Animals slaughtered for TB control

Chart showing the trend in animals slaughtered for TB control in Wales since 2008. 10,053 animals were slaughtered in the 12 months to December 2017, an increase of 1% compared with the previous 12 months.

  • In the 12 months to December 2017 10,053 cattle were slaughtered due to bovine TB control.
  • This is a 1 per cent increase on the previous 12 months when 9,906 cattle were slaughtered.
  • The overall trend is variable. Much of the rise since 2014 is attributable to increased use of high-sensitivity testing. For example, gamma-testing, removal of Inconclusive Reactors (IRs) and severe interpretation of the skin test have all been used with the intention of clearing up infection and reducing the risk of the disease spreading and breakdowns recurring.


There are variations in the monthly figures for a number of reasons including the seasonal aspect of TB, impact of unusual weather, number of test reading days in a month, impact of herds where a large number of animals are slaughtered in one month, etc. The data are not seasonally adjusted so month-on-month comparisons should be treated with caution.

These National Statistics are part of a suite of outputs that is used to monitor TB in Wales. For more detailed analysis and discussion of these trends, there is a focus on the quarterly Wales TB dashboard of indicators, which features a handful of key measures and statistical commentary.


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