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Tuberculosis in bovine animals
Tuberculosis in bovine animals
Etiology
Diagnosis
Epidemiology
Eradication

 Last update 2021/12/28

Tuberculosis in bovine animals eradication in Europe

Tuberculosis in bovine animals

According to the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1882, infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (M. bovis, M. caprae, M. tuberculosis) in bovine animals (Bison spp., Bos spp., Bubalus spp.) is listed as category B disease, therefore it must be controlled in all Member States with the goal of eradicating it throughout the Union, as referred to in Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) 2016/429.

 

Eradication of TB in bovine animals has been an important issue since the beginning of the European Economic Community (EEC), and current EU policies on the eradication of the disease are best understood after considering the progressive development of relevant Community legislation [1]. The EU policy on the eradication of TB in bovine animals has been based on two main principles:(1) the Member States are primarily responsible for the eradication of TB in bovine animals and may receive community financial support for the eradication program and (2) eradication of TB in bovine animals the EU must be a financial target and the Member States must consider eradication as the defined aim [1].

 

The scientific report of EFSA and ECDC titled "The European Union One Health 2019 Zoonoses Report" [2] reported a valuable overview of the TB infection in bovine animals in Europe. The country status on 31 December 2019 of freedom from bovine TB (OTF) is presented in Figure 1. Seventeen Member States (MS) were OTF during 2019. Of the 11 non-OTF MS, four MS had OTF regions or provinces: Italy (eight regions and 14 provinces); Portugal (the Algarve region); Spain (the province of Pontevedra and the Canary Islands); United Kingdom (Scotland and the Isle of Man). Seven non-OTF MS had no OTF region (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Malta and Romania).


Figure 1. Status of countries on TB in bovine  animals, 2019 (EFSA, 2021)

Figure 1. Status of countries on TB in bovine animals, 2019 (EFSA, 2021) [2].


Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein were OTF, in accordance with EU legislation. In Iceland, which has no special agreement on animal health status with the EU, the last outbreak of TB in bovine animals was reported in 1959. Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia also reported data on TB in bovine animals.

 

During 2019, the overall EU proportion of cattle herds infected with, or positive for, TB remained very low (0.8%, which was 16,420 out of 1,961,990 herds). Fourteen MS reported no case of TB in cattle (Belgium, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden). TB in bovine animals was reported by 14 MS and was heterogeneous and much spatially clustered with herd prevalence ranging from absence to 11.7% within the United Kingdom in England.

 

In the OTF regions of the 21 MS with such regions, there were in total 1,059,412 cattle herds. Seven of these MS reported in total 143 (0.014% overall) TB-infected herds, which is a rare event. Six MS reported infection with M. bovis (France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and UK). Austria reported herds infected with M. caprae. Additionally, Austria and Germany reported herds infected with M. caprae. From 2010 to 2019, the overall annual number (prevalence) of cattle herds reported infected in the OTF regions decreased from 227 (0.016%) to 143 (0.013%), respectively (Figure 2). This was a proportional respective decrease by 37.0% and 14.5% in the annual number and prevalence of positive cattle herds, for that period 2010 to 2019. Concomitantly, the total number of cattle herds decreased by 26.4% from 1,439,899 in 2010 to 1,059,412 in 2019. When comparing 2019 with 2018 data, the annual number and prevalence of reported positive cattle herds proportionally decreased by 12.8% and 10.9%, respectively, whereas the total number of cattle herds decreased by 4.9%.


Figure 2. Proportion of cattle herds infected with TB in OTF regions, EU, 20102019 (EFSA, 2021)

Figure 2. Proportion of cattle herds infected with TB in OTF regions, EU, 20102019 (EFSA, 2021) [2].


During 2019, the 11 non-OTF MS had in total 902,578 cattle herds in their non-OTF regions. Nine of these MS reported in total 16,277 (1.803% overall) bovine TB-positive herds. Five of these non-OTF MS (Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) had their eradication programmes co-financed by the EU. The number of positive herds out of all herds reported by these MS in non-OTF regions was 4,380 (3.95%) in Ireland (5,573 in 2018), 227 (0.46%) in Italy (232 in 2018), 137 (0.38%) in Portugal (77 in 2018), 1,875 (1.71%) in Spain (2,384 in 2018) and 9,531 (11.29%) in the United Kingdom (10,359 in 2018). Reports concerned M. bovis except for Portugal and Spain reporting M. tuberculosis complex-positive herds. Four of the six non-co-financed non-OTF MS reported in total 127 bovine TB-positive herds. Two of these MS reported infection with M. bovis (Bulgaria and Greece), whereas Romania reported herds infected with M. caprae and one herd infected with M. bovis. The fourth MS, Croatia, reported herds infected by M. tuberculosis complex and animals (slaughtered cattle) infected with M. bovis or M. caprae.

 

From 2010 to 2019, the overall annual number of reported positive cattle herds in the non-OTF regions decreased from 17,814 to 16,277, respectively (Figure 3), whereas the prevalence increased from 1.0% to 1.8%. This was, respectively, a proportional decrease and increase by 8.6% and 72.1% of the annual number and prevalence of positive cattle herds, for that period 2010 to 2019. Concomitantly, the total number of cattle herds in those non-OTF regions decreased by 44.9% from 1,638,694 in 2010 to 902,578 in 2019. When comparing 2019 with 2018 data, the annual number of positive cattle herds, the prevalence and the total number of cattle herds decreased by 14.2%, 11.8% and 4.4%, respectively.


Figure 3. Proportion of cattle herds positive for TB in bovine animals in non-OTF regions, EU, 20102019 (EFSA, 2021)

Figure 3. Proportion of cattle herds positive for TB in bovine animals in non-OTF regions, EU, 20102019 (EFSA, 2021) [2].


Figure 4 displays trends during 2004–2019 in the reported prevalence of TB test-positive cattle herds in non-OTF regions of five non-OTF co-financed MS and of one non-OTF not co-financed MS, Greece. The United Kingdom has reported in recent years a decreasing annual prevalence of above 10% for Wales and for England, as well as for Northern Ireland. Greece, Ireland and Spain reported a low prevalence between 2 and 5%, during recent years. Italy and Portugal reported very low (< 1%) prevalence.


Figure 4. Prevalence of TB test-positive cattle herds in non-OTF regions of five co-financed non-OTF MS and of one not co-financed non-OTF Member State Greece, 20042019 (EFSA, 2021)

Figure 4. Prevalence of TB test-positive cattle herds in non-OTF regions of five co-financed non-OTF MS and of one not co-financed non-OTF Member State Greece, 20042019 (EFSA, 2021) [2].


TB in bovine animals was not detected in 2019 in the non-MS Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The Republic of North Macedonia and Montenegro, which are pre-accession countries, submitted national monitoring data for the third and fourth consecutive year, respectively.  Tuberculosis in bovine animals was not detected in the non-MS countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. The North Macedonia and Montenegro, which are pre-accession countries, submitted national monitoring data on tuberculosis in bovine animals for the fourth and fifth consecutive year, respectively. The former reported 25 M. tuberculosis complex-positive herds out of 16,170 (0.15%) (0.15% in 2019), whereas Montenegro reported no positive herds (three M. bovis-positive herds in 2019).

References


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