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A study of tuberculosis in road traffic-killed badgers on the edge of the British bovine TB epidemic area


Ben Swift

Julian Chantrey

Robert Christley

Richard Gardner

Chris Jewell

Ian McGrath

Andrew Mitchell


Alison Prosser

Sue Ridout

Gonzalo Sanchez-Cabezudo

Noel Smith

Dorina Timofte

Nicola Williams


The role of badgers in the geographic expansion of the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) epidemic in England is unknown: indeed there have been few published studies of bTB in badgers outside of the Southwest of England where the infection is now endemic in cattle. Cheshire is now on the edge of the expanding area of England in which bTB is considered endemic in cattle. Previous studies, over a decade ago when bovine infection was rare in Cheshire, found no or only few infected badgers in the south eastern area of the county. In this study, carried out in 2014, road-killed badgers were collected through a network of local stakeholders (farmers, veterinarians, wildlife groups, government agencies), and Mycobacterium bovis was isolated from 21% (20/94) badger carcasses. Furthermore, there was strong evidence for colocalisation of M. bovis SB0129 (genotype 25) infection in both badgers and cattle herds at a county scale. While these findings suggest that both badgers and cattle are part of the same geographically expanding epidemic, the direction of any cross-species transmission and the drivers of this expansion cannot be determined. The study also demonstrated the utility of using road-killed badgers collected by stakeholders as a means of wildlife TB surveillance.


Sandoval Barron, E., Swift, B., Chantrey, J., Christley, R., Gardner, R., Jewell, C., …Bennett, M. (2018). A study of tuberculosis in road traffic-killed badgers on the edge of the British bovine TB epidemic area. Scientific Reports, 8, Article 17206.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 6, 2018
Online Publication Date Dec 6, 2018
Publication Date Dec 6, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 4, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 7, 2018
Journal Scientific Reports
Print ISSN 2045-2322
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Article Number 17206
Public URL


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