On January 25 2007, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland notified SEERAD that a cow imported from Ayrshire,Scotland had TB-like lesions at slaughter.
SVS staff at Ayr Animal Health Office traced the animal back to Enoch farm near Girvan Ayrshire and TB movement restrictions were served on the farm on January 26.
The cow was confirmed as TB culture positive on February 23. Results of further whole herd testing were received on March 19 at Ayr Animal Heath Office. As a result, 47 animals will be compulsorily slaughtered with compensation.
Cattle that have previously been moved on and off the farm are being traced, restricted isolated and tested where necessary.
There are no risks to health for the general population in Ayrshire. There are no implications for the TB status of Scotland. The case again highlights the importance of good slaughterhouse TB surveillance as a way of supplementing the on-farm testing regime.
TB is caused by various species of bacteria called 'Mycobacteria'. Cases of bovine TB in humans are rare and usually only found in people who caught the infection abroad or in elderly people who probably caught the infection from drinking milk before pasteurisation was introduced. In Scotland, the sale of unpasteurised cows' milk has been prohibited since 1983.
The Scotsman quotes a spokesman for NFU Scotland:
"The incidence of cases of TB in Scotland remains extremely low. We had only 11 cases last year and 13 in 2005. That compares very favourably with the almost 2,000 in England and Wales in 2006, and even more the previous year.
"There has been a close working relationship between the Executive and the industry, and that explains why we have kept Scotland almost totally clear of TB."
"We have to stress that there is absolutely no risk to human health, but farmers must remain vigilant."