Badgers may not spread TB to cattle through direct contact

Close contact between badgers and cattle may not be responsible for the transmission of bovine tuberculosis (TB), according to a new paper which paves the way for novel approaches to managing this controversial disease.

The study, led by Professor Rosie Woodroffe from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and published in the journal Ecology Letters, found that while badgers do favour cattle pasture as a habitat, they typically avoid cattle themselves and rarely get close enough to transmit infection directly.

This suggests that transmission of Mycobacterium bovis – the bacterium responsible for bovine tuberculosis – is likely to occur more frequently from contamination of the two species’ shared environment, rather than through direct badger-cattle contact. Find out more here:

Category: ZSL London Zoo
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