September 1, 2008

Fears Raised By Bovine TB Cases in Britain

Concern in Britain is high after a woman and her dog tested positive for bovine tuberculosis in Cornwall county, experts say.

An Environment Food and Rural Affairs Department official confirmed the respiratory infection was found in a veterinary nurse and her pet, leading to as-of-yet unanswered questions about how the disease spread across different species, The Times of London reported Monday.

There have been previous cases in Britain of bovine tuberculosis in humans, but those cases are rare and typically involve people who worked closely with the infected animals.

Former government veterinary officer Roger Sainsbury told the Times there is the potential the infection has not properly confined to the rural areas where it has appeared and therefore could spread to populated regions.

He said in cases such as the nurse, who is being treated for the infection, public officials do little to ensure the containment of the disease.

"This is a very serious problem," Sainsbury said. "We could do something about it but we are not and that is a travesty."