Thursday, 21 November 2019

Questions (181)

Joe Carey

Question:

181. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which his Department deals with a farm TB breakdown when animals that have failed the skin test but pass both the blood test and the post-mortem analysis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48379/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In the circumstances outlined by the Deputy, typically the animals would be deemed reactors and the holding would remain restricted.

A TB reactor is an animal that reacts to the TB skin test or blood test. Both tests are employed to maximise the efficacy of the TB eradication scheme. As in testing for any disease in any animal, there are a wide range of factors that impact on tests. These include duration of infection, level of immune response, age of animal, virulence of infection, settings of test, etc. Individual infected animals will react to various different tests in slightly different ways. This is normal and to be expected.

Less than 1 in 5,000 skin reactors are false reactors. Being able to see, with the naked eye, evidence of infection in animals after death is typically possible in approximately one third of reactors. This is not a verification of the skin test as it is a poorer test than the skin test.

My Department has produced leaflets and videos to explain how the tests work and what to expect from them. These are available on my Departments website at https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/diseasecontrol/bovinetb/tbleafletsandvideos/.