The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has announced that a new test to identify TB infection more quickly and simply in animals post-mortem has been rolled out in Great Britain.
APHA has validated a new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test which can detect the bacterium responsible for bovine TB directly from tissue samples collected at post-mortem inspection.
This new method will reduce the time taken for APHA laboratories to report results to livestock keepers from up to 22 weeks to just three weeks. This means in certain situations, if the PCR test results are negative, APHA will be able to lift herd movement restrictions much sooner than existing protocols allow.
Currently the main method of confirming TB infection is traditional microbiological culture, which involves growing the bacterium in a laboratory from tissue samples. This process can take up to 22 weeks for results to be obtained and farmers informed if restrictions remain or are to be lifted.
The new test will allow us to detect new cases of TB earlier and so help stop the spread of this insidious disease to other farms.
UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Fast and reliable testing is essential in halting the spread of this insidious disease in animals.
“This new PCR test ensures APHA can continue its vital role in detecting disease on farms and it will be welcome news for livestock farmers who have been greatly impacted by this disease.”