Monday, December 06, 2010

Professionals comment on that 74%

When we put up a brief glimpse of the source of Defra's '800 badgers, vaccination and 74% efficacy assumption' posting, it attracted the attention of several biologists, veterinary pathologists and other suitably qualified people.

Their somewhat explosive response, we did not expect.

A protocol designed to do one thing cannot and should not be tweaked to fit another scenario, and assumptions made without postmortems to support. That is 'outrageous' was one comment offered. The following snips are from a comment of the efficacy of BCG posting (below) with which we absolutely agree.
"As a biologist, I find these results rather perturbing. I know that BCG isn't all that effective, but results such as this demonstrate that it is so ineffective as to be near-useless, especially given the stress and disruption of vaccinating wild badgers ."

As cattle farmers, the results that even badgers receiving a very high dose of BCG, still developed lesions and still shed m.bovis was not good news to us either. As was the postmortem result for badger D313, (1 of the 9 given high dose BCG after a clear pre-jab screen) and for whom BCG gave no protection at all. The comment continues:
This is worthy of much wider publicity, since the general public seem to think that one dose of vaccine gives immediate, 100% effective, lifelong protection from a disease. This simplistic notion needs to be corrected; people need telling that BGC isn't all that effective, and that M bovis is definitely not a disease only of cows and badgers, but one which can readily spread to people.

We are trying, but when faced with a brick wall of vested interests, lobby money and index linked pensions, a TB riddled badger supports a huge industry on its back. Pushing water uphill may be easier.
This is, I think, a matter of some urgency since if this isn't done then the usual myths and magical thinking regarding vaccination will persist (i.e. the disease isn't a problem for people, and vaccination is a cure) and the necessary widespread badger cull will be that much more difficult to achieve

We think that as soon as Defra delivered this skewed piece of non-science to the Badger Trust, the general media and various assorted celebrities in need of a cause, it was game over.

And you are absolutely correct in thinking that the public and many animal activists genuinely believe that BCG will protect the badger, completely and indefinitely, whatever its current disease status. And yes, the label 'bovine' TB implies the only victims are cattle.
As to what can be done, well we've tried. Lord knows we've tried. But battling against arrogance and vested interests, who are in an armlock with government is a thankless task and one which we are afraid we have lost. The winner is the bacterium known as m.bovis, which will continue to infect any mammal unfortunate enough to fall over it.


Anonymous said...

Why don't you provide links to the sources of your information - it may make your claims credible.

Matthew said...

Anon 5.57
Links to all the papers which we discussed are in the postings below. They include two on 'Efficacy of BCG' and two on the 'Safety of BCG for badgers', plus an appendix of conclusions and the validation of Statpak.
All pdf files. All linked.

hernia surgery Los Angeles said...

So what exactly is the treatment and protection from such a it air borne which means anywhere we go where there are such patients it is going to affect us?

Matthew said...

HSLA @ 3.16

m.bovis the bacterium which may develop into TB, is not airborne. It is a heavy bacteria, wrapped in a waxy jacket, and needs a direct aerosol contact, or very close contact to share.

Previous problems in human beings the early part of last century were caused by contaminated milk, hence pasteurisation and a sweep of the cattle herds in the 1950s and 1960s.

The cattle herds are still regularly screened, and anything 'reacting' to the screening test, (which seeks exposure to the bacteria not actual disease), are slaughtered.

Unfortunately m.bovis is endemic in UK badgers, and their population expansion and close encounters with many other mammals is giving the opportunity for this bacteria (and the disease itself), to establish in other mammalian groups. Alpacas are a prime example. Cats another.

Thus far, BCG is not foolproof at all. It appears to work (if it works at all) by minimising, in some instances, the size of TB lesions and amount of bacteria present.

Yvonne Anthony said...

Subject: 2011 - The year of the badger?

Well folks, the consultation dates for England and Wales has closed, I don't know about you but I for one intend to fight on Until the last minute.
The consultation has been a good copy of the 3rd world elections. We were told any petitions would only count as one vote, then draft type letters were not acceptable,
WAG (Welsh Assembly Government) sent out approx 25000 leaflets to every dwelling in the high incidence area, this scenario is as follows:
Subject: Another Blunder Over Welsh Badgers

Mistake reveals the politics of the blunderbuss, says Badger Trust.

The Welsh Assembly Government has published yet another blatantly misleading mistake over bovine tuberculosis. Last month it had to retract a claim that killing badgers would reduce herd infections by 50 percent but in its apology claimed:

Previous trials [not listed] have shown that culling badgers can reduce TB in cattle. Benefits could be seen in six months. [1]

However, only in January 2010 it said:

Our aim is to eradicate TB from the [Intensive Action Pilot Area]. This will take years to achieve and it could go up in the short term. It may take up to three years before we see a reduction in TB cattle in the area [2].

David Williams, the chairman of the Badger Trust, said: “It is shameful that the WAG proposes the protracted slaughter of thousands of badgers apparently with no clear idea of what benefits, if any, could be expected. Even the latest apology has no foundation in science. The broad policy proposals have been missold to the public and, crucially, to farmers.

“The subject – and the badgers – deserve careful science, not the politics of the blunderbuss”.

This was quickly followed by a Ban imposed on a Secret World Wildlife Trust adverts taken out asking for the Pilot Culling Schemes to be stopped. The Advertising Standards Authority banned the adverts after "2" yes TWO
Complaints (of course one was from the WFU).

I really do hope our Farmers step back and re-consider the true implications of a cull are going to mean, on their finances and extra work and responsibility and also on the healthy badgers in England and Wales.

This is the time the gloves will be coming off, the MP's have their say and a few of the rest but as you see above it is a very few, and it's too late to put right the correct information to the public in general.
There is only one way forward for anyone with a conscience, THE PROPOSAL FOR A CULL MUST BE WITHDRAWN, and the government must put all the money they would waste into a vaccination project.

Yvonne Anthony