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 for November 2018.
This is not the latest release in the series: Incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle in Great Britain
The Defra Statistics release, on which this statistical headline is based, includes statistics on the basis of the Wales TB areas.
New TB herd incidents
- In the 12 months to November 2018, there were 753 new herd incidents reported in Wales.
- This is a 6% decrease on the previous 12 months, when there were 798 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
- In the 12 months to November 2018, 10,840 cattle were slaughtered due to bovine TB control.
- This is a 5% increase on the previous 12 months, when 10,326 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.
- The number of animals slaughtered in October 2018 was higher (1,499) than any other single month since records began. In November 2018, this decreased to 1,418 animals slaughtered; however it was the second highest month. As the chart shows, the monthly series is extremely variable and peaks can be expected from time to time. It is too early at this stage to state whether the trend is changing upwards. The peak may be due to most of the TB testing being carried out during the winter months, when the animals are housed. With increased testing it is expected that you would find more reactors and more animals would be killed as a result. This peak will be investigated further as more data is released.
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 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.
Please note that the TB statistics published by Defra in March, June, September and December are National Statistics; the remaining months are Official Statistics.
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