Sunday, April 21, 2013

Words fail us...

There seems to be a confusion about the colloquial title of the zoonotic bacteria known as 'Bovine' Tuberculosis in that it affects cattle - otherwise why would it be called 'bovine', Duh - but affects nothing else.

Whenever there is a badgery story or a cull feature in the newspapers, the Tweeters and Twitterers crawl out, many confirming their total ignorance of this disease. That is one of the reasons why we zapped the comment section on this site. Repetition and tiresome repetition which just confirmed the mind numbing ignorance of many commentators. And incidentally gave us an illuminating insight into the so-called education which many  of these baby Tweeters have received.

 Drumming up support for Brian May's anti cull marches, a story from Somerset carried some real howlers. Here is one such:
"bTB isnt TB, but I suspect you already know that ;-) To put it into perspective you've far more chance of getting struck by lightening than you have contracting bTB.”
Really? Ask Dianne Summers how she feels after eleven months of chemo-therapy, and now facing the removal of part of her lung. But we digress.

Several people affected by 'badger' Tuberculosis in the last few years, have caught it from their pets and companion mammals, who have had contact with infected badgers. These are the tip of an iceberg of exposure to this bacterium which we as a population, have never faced before. Milk was the easy bit. Test and slaughter the cows, pasteurise milk. Job done. But infected badgers? In your garden? In the kid's sandpit? Coughing over your cat, your alpaca, your dog? Tuberculosis is a slow burn disease. Exposure to the bacteria which cause it, now may take years to show itself. But eventually it will.

We are also up against the establishment with the reporting of m. bovis as a particular strain of tuberculosis. AHVLA describe the reporting and index case screen as a 'one way street', with possible exposure to farmers and vets passed up the chain to the Health Protection Agency, (HPA) but a big fat zilch in the other direction. HPA operate in their own private bubble.

 So for example, if a patient presents with possible 'tuberculosis', (which most doctors will have only read about, and HPA still refuse to acknowledge any other source for, except foreign travel, unpasteurised milk, homeless shelters and drugs) the diagnosis is recorded as m. tuberculosis complex.

Drugs are tailored appropriately and few spoligotype screens are done, except possibly in inner cities. But the drug regime for m.bovis is substantially different from that required for m.tuberculosis, and it is often altered to accommodate bovis, without the original data being changed. Both strains belong of course, to the group m. tuberculosis complex so technically .......

Thus a degree of under reporting is occurring. To what level, we can't say. But we can and do listen to the health professionals who administer these different drugs, and they tell us that m. bovis is 'substantially' under reported.

So to all you Twitterers, who genuinely think 'bovine' tuberculosis is a disease of cattle, and that they pass it to innocent badgers. Wake up. Another comment from the link above says it far more succinctly - but less politely, than we could:
It's that word 'bovine' plus an unshakable faith in badgerism. A cult job. Government couldn't give a flying Fork about cattle - or badgers, for that matter. But m.bovis is under OIE and EU statutes as a Grade 3 zoonosis which they must eradicate to protect mutts like XXXXXXXXX. But when you read comments like that, you really wonder why.”
For information, 'OIE' is the acronym for the Office des Internationale Epizooties and a zoonotic disease is one which affect animals, from which infection can pass to human beings.
 More on the different branches and known hosts of the bacteria within m.tuberculosis complex can be found on this yoosfool link.

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