Monday, July 05, 2004

It takes no prisoners

exoSET's comment about the child with Tb on the '£35K Badger Proof Fence' blog, is a timely reminder of what this fiasco is all about. Defra are not killing cattle for the hell of it, or badgers either. Tuberculosis whether m.bovis or m.tuberculosis takes no prisoners. It is a killer zoonosis, and one we should have eliminted years ago.

Since 1895, (yes - that is the right date!) we have known that m.bovis, the bacteria with which this blog is concerned, can survive many different situations. It's one tough cookie. Freezing, some acids, salt and water have no effect. Drying is lethal, and drying in layers makes it more virulent. It can resist 'several months of putrefaction' in a carcass, and can survive in damp, humid places (badger setts) for years. Suspended in badger urine, the effect of ultra violet 'may be delayed'. There are up to 300,000 units of the stuff in 1ml of urine from a badger with kidney lesions, and less than 70 colony forming units or 0.03ml will infect a cow. (see PQ 6 Jan 2004 144445) Perhaps Owen Paterson should ask how much is needed to infect a human being.

Direct bright sunlight (UV) is about the only thing which will destroy the beast.

Cattle tested are only a sentinel of the amount of this bacteria plastering our countryside. The right to roam, combined with communal crossing places used and marked by infected badgers and then accessed by human traffic is a zoonosis waiting to happen.

No comments: