Browsing by Author "Menzies, Fraser"
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ItemEuropean badger (Meles meles) responses to low-intensity, selective culling: using mark recapture and relatedness data to assess social perturbation(Wiley, 2022-07-28) Allen, Adrian; Milne, Margaret Georgina; McCormick, Charles M.; Collins, Shane; O'Hagan, Maria; Skuce, Robin A.; Trimble, Nigel; Harwook, Roland; Menzies, Fraser; Byrne, Andrew W.Culling the main wildlife host of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain (GB) and Ireland, the European badger (Meles meles), has been employed in both territories to reduce infections in cattle. In GB, this has been controversial, with results suggesting that culling induces disturbance to badger social structure, facilitating wider disease dissemination. Previous analyses hypothesized that even very low-level, selective culling may cause similar deleterious effects by increasing ranging of individuals and greater mixing between social groups. To assess this hypothesis, a novel, prospective, landscape-scale ‘before-and-after’ Test and Vaccinate or Remove (TVR) study was implemented. Test-positive badgers were culled and test-negative badgers were Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccinated and released. Mark–recapture metrics of badger ranging and genetic metrics of social group relatedness did not change significantly over the study period. However, selective culling was associated with a localized reduction in social group relatedness in culled groups. Ecological context is important; extrapolation across territories and other disease epidemiological systems (epi-systems) is likely to be challenging. However, we demonstrate that small-scale, selective removal of test-positive badgers was not associated with metrics of increased ranging but was associated with localized changes in social group relatedness. This adds to the evidence base on badger control options for policy makers. ItemEvaluating the risk of bovine tuberculosis posed by standard inconclusive reactors identified at backward-traced herd tests in Northern Ireland that disclosed no reactors(Elsevier, 2022-03-01) Georgaki, Anastasia; Bishop, Hannah; Gordon, Alan; Doyle, Liam; O’Hagan, Maria; Courcier, Emily; Menzies, FraserBovine tuberculosis is a notifiable disease in Northern Ireland with the national eradication programme of compulsory testing and slaughter of reactor animals costing approximately £40 million per year. Backward tracing, known as Backward Check Tests (BCTs), of reactor animals is used to identify previous herds where the bTB positive animal has resided. The aim of this study was to quantify the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) risk posed by inconclusive reactors (ICs) at BCTs at both the individual animal and the herd level. ICs to the Comparative Intradermal Tuberculin Test (CITT) at a BCT, in which no reactors were found, were matched with CITT negative animals, based on age, sex, test ID and follow up period, in Northern Ireland between 1st January 2008 and 31st December 2017 (inclusive). A retrospective matched cohort study design was used with the outcome of interest being the bTB status of each animal and subsequent bTB herd breakdowns. After adjusting for herd size, IC animals at a BCT had 16 times the odds (95% confidence interval: 7.75 to 38.28, p < 0.001) of becoming bTB positive compared to CITT negative animals. The percentage population attributable risk was 0.0001%. The majority 75% (n = 71) of ICs that became bTB positive were identified at the 42 day retest. Of those that were not disclosed at the 42 day retest (n = 24), almost a third (29%) had moved to an unrestricted herd. However, after adjusting for herd size and type, herds that had ICs only identified at a BCT did not have an increased odds of a subsequent bTB herd breakdown compared to herds that had a CITT negative BCT. Given the increased risk posed by ICs at a BCT, it may be justifiable to remove them from the herd immediately or place them under lifetime movement restrictions to the herd where they were detected. However, further action regarding the herd of origin does not appear to be justified. ItemGenomic epidemiology of Mycobacterium bovis infection in sympatric badger and cattle populations in Northern Ireland(Microbiology Society, 2023-05-25) Akhmetova, Assel; Guerrero, Jimena; McAdam, Paul; Salvador, Liliana C. M.; Crispell, Joseph; Lavery, John; Presho, Eleanor; Kao, Rowland R.; Biek, Roman; Menzies, Fraser; Trimble, Nigel; Harwood, Roland; Pepler, P. Theo; Oravcova, Katarina; Graham, Jordon; Skuce, Robin; du Plessis, Louis; Thompson, Suzan; Wright, Lorraine; Byrne, Andrew W.; Allen, AdrianBovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a costly, epidemiologically complex, multi-host, endemic disease. Lack of understanding of transmission dynamics may undermine eradication efforts. Pathogen whole-genome sequencing improves epidemiological inferences, providing a means to determine the relative importance of inter- and intra-species host transmission for disease persistence. We sequenced an exceptional data set of 619 Mycobacterium bovis isolates from badgers and cattle in a 100 km2 bTB 'hotspot' in Northern Ireland. Historical molecular subtyping data permitted the targeting of an endemic pathogen lineage, whose long-term persistence provided a unique opportunity to study disease transmission dynamics in unparalleled detail. Additionally, to assess whether badger population genetic structure was associated with the spatial distribution of pathogen genetic diversity, we microsatellite genotyped hair samples from 769 badgers trapped in this area. Birth death models and TransPhylo analyses indicated that cattle were likely driving the local epidemic, with transmission from cattle to badgers being more common than badger to cattle. Furthermore, the presence of significant badger population genetic structure in the landscape was not associated with the spatial distribution of M. bovis genetic diversity, suggesting that badger-to-badger transmission is not playing a major role in transmission dynamics. Our data were consistent with badgers playing a smaller role in transmission of M. bovis infection in this study site, compared to cattle. We hypothesize, however, that this minor role may still be important for persistence. Comparison to other areas suggests that M. bovis transmission dynamics are likely to be context dependent, with the role of wildlife being difficult to generalize.