Camelid TB Support & Research Group

Mike Birch                            

Dianne Summers                 

Help and Support for those affected by Bovine TB in Alpacas & Llamas

Email: Support@alpacatb.org

07711 927526

 07949 511316

If you wish to be alerted by email when news and updates go on our website email dianne@alpacatb.org and say ‘PLEASE UPDATE ME’ in your email.

News & Updates Subscribe to email alerts

13/07/2012 Blood tests

Due to recent misinformation being circulated we have been inundated with requests to qualify certain information regarding bloods tests and their future and current use.  We have also been asked to simplify the results that are detailed in the recent Validation of ante mortem tests in Camelids conducted by the AHVLA. This document is on our website under bTB Tests


As at today, July 13th, no changes or decisions have been made regarding the use of blood tests either for private use or whilst under TB restrictions.


On May 29th this year the Camelid TB Support and Research Group together with representatives from BCL (British Camelids Ltd) BVCS (British veterinary Camelid Society) BLS (British llama Society) and BAS (British alpaca society) attended a camelid liaison meeting with AHVLA and DEFRA in Weybridge. A presentation on the results of the validated blood tests and possible future use was given by Senior AHVLA and DEFRA colleagues. We were then all asked to submit our opinions on their future use both as a private test and whilst under TB restrictions.

DEFRA policy will look at all our feedback and will make decisions based on the TB situation in Camelids and how best to control this disease in our species. We can only give our opinions and when the final decision is made by DEFRA - providing we become aware of it - we will post that decision here on our website.

Until such time - nothing has changed.


We have given a simplified summary of the blood test that have been validated on our  bTB Tests page.

04/08/2012 PCR Proof of Concept Study - Interim results

The long awaited results of this study are better than we had expected and can be found by clicking here.


The second phase of this study (which will only take a further month to complete) needs your donations please click here

24/09/2012 Funding for second stage of PCR Proof of concept trial

A huge thank you to British Llama society Chairman Tim Crowfoot and to all BLS members for their very generous donation to the second stage of this study. We cannot thank them enough.

We no longer need to raise any further funds for this stage of the trial. Hopefully the second stage will be completed in around one months time. Both British Llama Society and British Camelids Limited have very generously supported this important study. As always thanks to the Farmers Union of Wales, members of the cattle industry, and to individual alpaca owners in the UK and Europe who have donated to this project.

We have received no reply from the BAS to a request for support.

25/09/2012 Defra Tb Policy Open Letter

Defra have published an open letter to all camelid owners in England to clarify the position, facts and science about TB testing in camelids. You can read the letter here and also on our bTB Tests page. Please be aware that the changes stated in the letter are proposals and are not yet in place.

We are pleased that this statement corrects the misinformation and rumour that has been spread by some within the industry.

  




27/09/2012 Publication of Blood test evaluation project

Defra have sent us a copy of the published blood test evaluation report which can be downloaded here.

This refutes the rumours and misinformation being circulated by some breeders that the tests have not been validated or peer reviewed.

All camelid owners should be grateful to those owners who were in a confirmed TB breakdown who chose voluntarily to do the blood tests rather than choose to come out of restrictions on the skin test alone, and also to those owners from TB free areas who offered their alpacas for the trial.

Many members of the TB Support Group who were in confirmed TB breakdowns agreed to trial these tests before the trial began, during the trial and after the trial ended, and continue to do even though they are optional. All have contributed to this project and all are owed a huge debt of gratitude by all camelid owners

We are pleased to see the contribution of the Support Group acknowledged in the report.

02/11/2012 Defra Publication of 3rd Quarter bTB figures

The table for the 3rd quarter of 2012 has been published by Defra. It shows that there are 12 confirmed camelid herd bTB breakdowns for the first nine months of this year. There are 9 Alpaca herds and 3 llama herds affected. You can see the table here or view  it on the Defra website here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/landuselivestock/cattletb/other/

Proof of concept study to establish if PCR testing of clinical samples is able to detect Mycobacterium bovis infection in camelids.


The second stage of the proof of concept study, conducted by AHVLA  and financed by The Camelid Tb Support and Research Group which looked at camelids with less severe pathology, has now been completed.  This means that AHVLA scientist have now looked at the whole spectrum of pathology from minimal to severe that is found in camelid M. bovis infections.


The results are very promising and far better than we had expected.  They were able to detect nearly all of the camelids with the most severe pathology with a falling sensitivity as pathology became less severe. They were even able to detect some camelids that had minimal pathology. The faecal samples were marginally more sensitive than nasal swabs.  Due to the difficulty in collecting blood from a dead camelid they were not able to evaluate blood samples as they were unable to collect sufficient suitable samples for testing.


Publication of the full trial results is in preparation and this study will be peer reviewed before it is published.


Please note that this study was performed on camelids that had already died or been euthanized as part of the Defra TB programme.


The next stage is to discuss the way forward to validate the test using samples of fecal and nasal swabs on live camelids in the field.


A full explanation of this study can be found on the PCR Tab on this website along with the results of the first stage and further information.


A huge thank you again to those that donated to this project – we could not have done it without you.



 

  


8/12/2012 PCR Proof of Concept Study Stage 2 complete

The BAS EGM has been called with little thought for the sensitivities of those owners who have sought to deal with a confirmed bTB breakdown in their herds in the only practical way currently on offer.


We have the real prospect of practicable blood tests being offered sooner than we had ever hoped, yet by putting alpaca politics in the way of dealing with the disease we are likely to set back the progress we have made while putting the health of alpacas, their owners and handlers at continued risk.


Currently, when faced with bTB in your herd, you can either do nothing, with the risk that all of your alpacas may die a slow lingering death, or you can use the Statpak test to remove infected animals and try to halt the spread of the disease. The data gathered from 21 herds in the support group with confirmed bTB breakdowns who have used the rapid stat pak test and provided their data to us supports its use. NOT ONE of those 21 regret having used the Statpak test.


The data from the blood test validation project DOES NOT support the position of those calling the EGM.


DEFRA admit in their open letter that the skin test is meaningless. To try and stop the Statpak test from being used, and to unnerve those currently in a breakdown situation who are undecided as to whether to use it or not is abhorrent.  We gave this statement to the BAS welfare committee last Sunday which was attended by three of the proposed new Directors - Nick Harrington Smith, Jay Holland and Michael Henderson who appear to have ignored it.


Dianne Summers and Mike Birch are both members of the BAS and will be voting against the resolution to remove the board. We trust that the retained board members will work toward an effective strategy to inform the membership with accurate, factual and current data in the future. Having been invited to join the BAS TB Forum, we hope that the strained relationship we have had with the BAS will become a thing of the past with us sharing our knowledge and experience and working together. Hopefully developments on the near horizon will begin to give us a degree of control over bTB instead of it being in control of us.


All we ask is that you ensure that the decision you make is based on accurate data and not rumour and hearsay. As always, we need to work together to beat bTB.



9/12/12 BAS EGM  - Support Group Statement

27/01/13 Negative on Culture - Explanation of term ‘Gold Standard’ from Defra

As we have explained on this site since 2010, culture of m.bovis is extremely difficult, and the inability to successfully culture m.bovis from samples can not be taken as proof that bTB is not present. Defra have provided a document to explain this that you can find here and also on the btb Tests page of this website. Further information can be found in our ‘No visible lesions on post mortem’ document on the you have TB page of this site.

23/04/13 NEW Defra Table

The new Defra “Annual numbers of new incidents of culture-confirmed M.bovis identified on South American camelid premises in GB” table can be found here and on the home page of this website under the red number 70. As this shows the total number of camelid herds that have been affected by culture confirmed m.bovis to the end of 2012 was 70.

06/06/13 Revised handling advice for infected herds


We have revised our “You have TB in your herd, what’s next?” document to reflect the fact that an alpaca owner has contracted bTB from her own alpacas, and also following the findings of our PCR study showing that bTB bacteria can be present in the faeces and nasal samples of infected camelids. Item 12 includes advice to wear a face mask  when handling infected alpacas and protective clothing when handling faeces. Click here to go to page.

19/07/13 Defra 25 Year Plan


Earlier this month Defra announced details of a  plan to regain TB free status in England. A target has been set of achieving OTF status for ‘much of England’ by 2025 and the whole country in 25 years. This timescale underlines the serious level of disease endemic in wildlife, in farmed livestock and spill over species, including camelids. The map on our homepage shows the areas defined as high risk, low risk and the edge area. Strategies to combat the disease will vary based on these definitions.

Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, stated “We must stop bTB spreading into previously unaffected areas while bringing it under control in places where it has taken hold”.

Details of the Draft Government strategy and the consultation document can be found here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/farming/tb/


28/08/2013 Defra Publication of 2nd Quarter bTB figures

The table for the 2nd quarter of 2013 has been published by Defra. It shows that there are 6 confirmed camelid herd bTB breakdowns for the first six months of this year. There are five alpaca herds and one with both alpacas and llamas affected. You can see the table here or view  it on the Defra website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/other-tb-statistics.


We are aware of three other affected herds that do not as yet appear on the Defra table.

13/11/2013 ‘Priming’ of blood tests for increased sensitivity

Defra have provided us with a document explaining the reasons for using the skin test 10 - 30 days prior to using a serological (antibody) blood test. You can read the document here or on our bTB tests page. In a breakdown it is imperative to use all means to increase the sensitivity (likelihood of finding the disease) of the testing system to halt the progress of bTB through a herd.

29/11/2013 Defra announce new measures for bTB control in camelids

Defra have announced new measures to help to try to halt the spread of bTB in camelids. We welcome progress on the control of bTB in our species and the acceptance that Government and camelid owners need to take the issue seriously, but we are disappointed that the measures will remain voluntary. The move follows recommendations from the Animal health and Welfare Board.


The recommendations cover recording of camelid movements and pre and post movement testing. We await full details of the tests that will be made available (As at 29/11/13 the only test available to herds not under restrictions is the comparative skin test.) We also await full details how the new measures will be implemented and monitored.


You can read the Farmers Guardian article on the announcement here.




Newly appointed Under Secretary of State for Farming, George Eustice MP, visited Dianne Summers, head of the Support Group, at her farm in Cornwall on Friday 6th December. The meeting was to discuss bTB as it affects alpacas, llamas (as well as their keepers and handlers) and to bring Mr Eustice up to date with the current situation. Mr Eustice was interested to find out about the Support Group’s work over the past five years and about the detailed factual data that Dianne has gathered from 41 members of the Support Group.


Dianne was able to outline her concerns regarding the disease and testing as well as explaining how some in the camelid community have spread false information about levels of false positives from the Stat-Pak test that has caused some owners with herds under restrictions to refuse to use it to beat the disease in their herds.


The PCR project was discussed and Mr Eustice was briefed about the results obtained and the possible applications of PCR.  


Mr Eustice said he was grateful for her input and level of knowledge and explained that he well understood the devastation that the disease causes. He asked about Dianne’s own herd breakdown and about her personal battle with the disease having been diagnosed with the same spoligotype as her herd in 2012.


Dianne expressed her gratitude to Mr Eustice for his visit and found the discussion encouraging. She looks forward to meeting him again.    


Despite the seriousness of the subject, the meeting ended with the Little Hamlet alpacas captivating Mr Eustice as can be seen below.

 


09 /12/2013  Defra Farming Minister visits Camelid TB Support and Research Group HQ.

Bovine TB is a zoonotic disease transmissible to humans. See here

Hover mouse over picture for larger image

18/12/2013  New AHVLA Camelid bTB data released. BAS data for causes of death in alpacas.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency has published new data relating to non bovines including camelids. It includes the numbers of herds put under restrictions, numbers tested and culled during 2011 and 2012 in England, Wales and Scotland and also collated for Britain as a whole. The 2012 non bovine combined England, Wales and Scotland report can be found here:

  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/267084/bovinetb-otherspecies-GB2012-18dec13.pdf


And tables by country for 2011 and 2012 here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/other-tb-statistics


The report shows that in 2012 there were 71 camelid premises placed under movement restrictions, with 45 remaining under restrictions at the end of the year.

The report shows 577 camelids were culled due to bTB or bTB control measures during 2012.

The numbers demonstrate the impact of the disease and gives the lie to those who say it is not a serious threat to British alpacas and llamas.

In November this year The BAS (British Alpaca Society) released to the BAS National Welfare committee the numbers and causes of death in alpacas reported to the society. The tables included everything reported from old age, parasites (barbers pole etc) and of course bTB. In 2012, 624 deaths were reported to the BAS for alpacas owned by its members. Of that total 533 were reported with cause of death due to bTB. This is a staggering percentage of the national herd, especially considering that the vast majority of those bTB deaths were condensed into hotspot regions.  Not all alpaca owners are members of the BAS and this number is unlikely to include all alpacas lost to bTB.  Obviously the BAS total does not include the number of llamas lost to bTB.  The BAS cumulative table from 2009 - 2012 can be seen here. The 2013 table (to October only) here.

 

 




21/1/2014  New defra table

Figures released to the end of August 2013 show that there were ten NEW confirmed btb breakdowns (9 alpaca, 1 mixed alpacas and llamas) in the first eight months of 2013. See here for table.

Defra have provided us with the following information regarding the roll out of private blood tests for use in camelids including those showing clinical signs.   


Once private testing OUTSIDE of a TB breakdown becomes available in England (possibly from July 2014), camelid owners will be able to arrange and pay for  blood tests on their animals - most importantly for those who are worried that they might have a suspect TB case in their herd as well as for pre-movement, exports etc.


The following information is regarding camelids showing clinical signs of possible TB.

 

Where a camelid presents with symptoms where TB is one of many possible diagnostics, and AHVLA or your private vet want to try to rule TB out, camelid owners will be able to submit blood samples privately to AHVLA Starcross for testing at their own expense. AHVLA will apply a high specificity rule with two tests in serial interpretation - i.e. an animal must fail both tests to be considered infected and reported to AHVLA.

  

However if TB CANNOT be ruled out in the animal(s) in question and an AHVLA Veterinary Officer also suspects TB, the herd will be placed under precautionary movement restrictions and the animal skin and blood tested at the government expense under a formal notice of testing. AHVLA will use StatPak and IDEXX using parallel interpretation (i.e. animal to be removed if positive to either antibody test) of the two combined antibody tests.


PLEASE NOTE that the tests will not be available for private use outside of a breakdown before July 2014.

05/02/2014  Defra Information on blood test roll-out for camelids

07/02/2014  PCR project published

The Camelid TB Support Group PCR project paper has been published.

It is available as a free access document here: http://www.irishvetjournal.org/content/67/1/5

Or as a PDF here. PCR Paper

Or on our PCR Page here.

Thank you to those who supported this important work.

We are now awaiting details and costs for the validation stage which will require funding as well as samples from camelids across the country.   



Defra are proposing changes to the current arrangements for dealing with bTB in camelids in England. (Wales already has its own policy in place and Scotland are considering their options). Proposals include introducing blood tests that can be used outside of a breakdown situation, for example as pre-movement or pre-purchase and in cases where an animal may be showing symptoms which require TB to be ruled out.

The “Consultation on Tuberculosis (TB) animal disease controls for deer and camelids.” Can be found at the link below:

https://consult.defra.gov.uk/bovine-tb/consultation-on-tb-controls-for-deer-and-camelids

Further documentation and information can be found by following the above link, together with an online survey (and printable version) for your response.




09/04/2014  Defra consultation on TB controls in Camelids

06/05/2014  Misleading Information on testing.  

Misleading information has been circulated by those who should know better and who in our opinion should take a more responsible approach, and show more support and sympathy toward those who are currently facing, or have faced bTB in their herds. For this reason we present the factual data below so that you can make your own minds up rather than be steered by anyone else.

The impression has been given that it is bTB tests that put your alpacas at risk, when the emphasis should be put on the risks posed by the disease itself. Tests shortly to become available should be seen as a positive step that will benefit the alpaca industry and the fight against TB.

As has been demonstrated time and again, infected alpacas often show no symptoms over a long period, and once symptoms appear (often a death in the herd) the disease can be well established within the herd. In such a case there is no other responsible choice other than the use of blood tests to try to halt the disease and save the remainder of the herd. In the face of possible exposure to the disease through contiguous contact or tracings from a breakdown herd, the responsible thing to do is to try to protect your herd by testing. In such cases it is important that you are fully informed and understand the tests that you will be offered. No test is perfect, and it is important that you have the facts presented to you rather than be influenced by myth and misinformation. While there is much concern about false positives, it has to be borne in mind that false negatives that leave diseased animals in your herd are likely to kill more animals in the long term, as the source of disease remains to infect others.  Do not forget the risk to the handlers of the animals - this is a zoonotic disease and has passed to humans from alpacas.

The data on the tests available was gathered by the blood test Evaluation report which was funded by the camelid industry. The data showing how the tests compare is shown below. As you can see, the data shows that the Stat-Pak, Idexx and Enferplex tests all have very similar sensitivity and specificity figures when used as single tests.

The tests can also be used in combinations and read using serial or parallel interpretations (see tables below for explanation) to increase sensitivity (eg. to remove diseased animals in confirmed breakdowns) or to increase specificity (eg. In non breakdown situations such as pre-movement or pre-purchase). The Enferplex test can be interpreted using 2 or 4 antigens, to give a more or less severe interpretation.

You can see the comparison between the single tests in the upper table. Stat-Pak, Idexx and Enferplex are all very similar.

You can see the comparison between Parallel tests and Enferplex 2 antigen in the middle table. Again, very similar.

You can see the comparison between Stat-Pak/Idexx and Enferplex 4 antigen in the bottom table. Again, very similar. Please be aware that in these cases, while highly specific(false positives very unlikely) the sensitivity falls to only around 55%, so cannot be seen as a guarantee of freedom from disease.  

Sensitivity The sensitivity of a test is the proportion of truly infected animals that are detected with a test.

Specificity The specificity of a test is the proportion of truly uninfected animals that are correctly classified as test-negative.


















Please Note!

According to 3 scientific research papers for camelids the sensitivity of all the above tests is dependant on a prior skin test which boosts antibody response. Without such a prior skin test the sensitivity of all the tests could drop by around 20 to 30%, which in the case of the high specificity options could reduce sensitivity to a level where the test is more likely to miss an infected animal than identify it.


01/10/2014  Introduction of new blood tests. Defra - “If it moves, TEST IT”


From today, 1st October 2014 it will now be possible to have blood tests carried out by AHVLA outside of a bTB breakdown - for example if you have an animal that is showing clinical signs that make you suspect bTB and want to rule it out. Early action is vital to save your herd if you suspect bTB.


This is a positive step in the fight against  bTB in camelids.


The negative reaction of the BAS and some quarters of the industry to this change is short sighted and unhelpful. BTB is one of few diseases that has the ability to wipe out your entire herd. A huge difference between bTB and other disease and parasite threats has been the inability to effectively test for it - the availability of  effective testing is key to halting the spread of the disease before it reaches catastrophic levels. Alpacas can be severely diseased while showing no outward symptoms - once they start to die in numbers (as happens in an established breakdown) it is often too late to save the herd. The data in the preceding news item compares the sensitivity and specificity of the newly available tests and the BAS ‘preferred’ test - please read it and make your own mind up - the data is from the BAS blood test validation study. (See here)


Until recently, the only test available outside of a TB breakdown has been the comparative skin test. Positives found by the skin test can be relied upon, but the very high number of false negatives (where disease was in fact present) can - and has - led to prolonged breakdowns due to infectious diseased animals being left behind.


Do not forget also the PROVEN risk to human health from transmission of bTB from alpacas to people which is at the heart of the fight against bTB as well as the need to protect your herd..


Excerpt from proposed defra leaflet below:


“If it moves, test it:


Alpacas and llamas move to and from premises to attend:

· Shows;

· Markets;

· For trekking or breeding; or

· Following sales

These are perceived by livestock farmers to increase the risk of the spread of TB to their animals.

To protect your herd and reassure your neighbours and customers, you should consider TB testing your own animals before they move; and being sure that animals visiting your premises have already been tested (pre-movement testing).


You can also have any incoming animals privately tested after arrival onto your farm (post-movement testing).

Tuberculosis (TB) can be spread by the movement of apparently healthy but infected animals between herds. If you are thinking about buying alpacas or llamas

· Check on the TB history of the herd you are buying from.

· Think very carefully about biosecurity arrangements for your new animals, especially if you keep them in the bovine TB high risk ‘endemic’ area (e.g. the South West and the West Midlands).”


The wider text can be found here.


Note: The leaflet was sent to ourselves, BAS and BLS with permission to send it to the society members. It has not been circulated so far despite the opportunity to attach it to the batch email that was sent to the membership yesterday.


See news item below for more detail on testing.


11/10/2014  Defra explanation of changes to testing procedures


Defra have provided us with an explanation of how the  How the October 2014 Regulation and testing changes affect camelid owners which you can see here.

23/07/2014   Introduction of new blood tests


A major difference in the threat posed to camelids by bTB compared to other disease and parasite threats has been the lack of effective tests to detect the disease. Until very recently, the only test available outside of a TB breakdown has been the comparative skin test. Positives found by the skin test can be relied upon, but the very high number of false negatives (where disease was in fact present) can - and has - led to prolonged breakdowns due to infectious diseased animals being left behind. False negatives are dangerous as they leave infection in the herd, or allow it to be moved to a new herd. Whilst a false positive is distressing, it poses no threat to the remainder of your herd - a false negative on the other hand can lead to the deaths of many more animals or total herd loss. Remember - false negatives kill camelids too.


Whilst we welcome the advent of newly available surveillance and movements tests, it is important that for the very same reasons that anyone using the tests, or relying on them to indicate disease status of new stock, fully understand what the tests can and cannot achieve - it would be wrong to think of them, and equally wrong to market or promote them, as an absolute guarantee of freedom from disease.


The tables below show the sensitivity and specificity of the tests. The sensitivity of a test is the proportion of truly infected animals that are detected with a test - if a test has 55% sensitivity it is missing 45% of infected animals.


The specificity of a test is the proportion of truly uninfected animals that are correctly classified as test-negative. If a test has 99% specificity then 1% will be a false positive.


You can see that when used on their own the Stat-Pak, IDEXX and Enferplex (2 antigen) have similar sensitivity and could miss around one third of infected camelids. DPP and Enferplex 4 antigen could miss approaching half (45%) of infected animals.  This is not a criticism, but it must be borne in mind that these tests are useful tools, not a 100% guarantee of freedom from infection. It is important that you still educate yourself and apply sensible precautions in your herd management, movements, purchases etc. and carry out a risk assessment .

See also news item 06/05/2014

17/07/2014  PCR Project


The Support Group PCR Project has been presented at the recent TB conference in Cardiff. A poster prepared for the conference summarising the project can be seen here. You can also find out more by visiting the PCR page here.

11/05/2015 Blood testing

Blood tests for bTB in camelids that are not in a breakdown (confirmed infected herd) are available through your vet. These can be carried out either by the Government APHA laboratories and the Enferplex test is also offered by a private company.

It is important to note that these tests are not 100% guarantees of freedom of bTB - in both options (APHA and enfer high specificity private tests) the sensitivity is around only 55% - see tables below. Sensible precautions and risk assessment are still as important as ever even when combined with testing.

It has been widely discussed and accepted that the skin test should be carried out prior to the blood test to prime the test. This is important to achieve the sensitivity to the levels listed below.  

The APHA tests are offered as a package ref: PC0710. It costs £ 22.95 per test, or for 5 and above £19.85.

The type and combination of tests offered may be subject to change. Check which tests are being offered prior to their use.

Please Note!

According to 3 scientific research papers for camelids the sensitivity of all the above tests is dependant on a prior skin test which boosts antibody response. Without such a prior skin test the sensitivity of all the tests could drop by around 20 to 30%, which in the case of the high specificity options could reduce sensitivity to a level where the test is more likely to miss an infected animal than identify it.

It is important to note that these tests are not 100% guarantees of freedom of bTB - in both options (APHA and enfer high specificity private tests) the sensitivity is around only 55% - see tables below. Sensible precautions and risk assessment are still as important as ever even when combined with testing.

07/07/2015 Defra  Guidance ‘How to deal with non-bovine TB’

Defra guidance on TB in non-bovines can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/how-to-deal-with-non-bovine-tb-in-your-animals

The information covers camelids. It offers an overview and information on the following topics:

How to spot TB, How TB spreads, If you suspect TB, If TB is found,Compensation for slaughtered animals (England and Scotland), Day-to-day control.

There is a further link regarding TB in domestic pets which also refers to camelids as well as dogs, cats etc.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tuberculosis-tb-in-domestic-pets





08/08/2015 Defra  data updated

The figures for the first period of 2015 have been published. You can see the table here.




09/09/2015 Private sample submission form

The form for submitting blood samples for testing in herds not under restrictions can be found on the reducing the risk page




14/09/2015 Continuity of Blood test kit supplies at APHA

We have had this statement from the Head of laboratory services, APHA.


“APHA did experience an interruption in DPP VetTB kit supplies in August, due to supplier export (paperwork) problems. During this time however testing did continue, with just three submissions exceeding the test turn-around time.  Kit supplies have now been resumed, we are processing as normal and do not anticipate any further difficulties.”





05/10/2015 Defra data updated

The table showing the number of index herds affected by confirmed bTB has been updated. You can see the table here.




16/12/2015 APHA Tests Briefing Note - TB Blood testing kits - Options and Instructions

The APHA testing briefing note ‘TB Blood testing kits - Options and Instructions’ can be found here.

It explains the tests available in England, Scotland and Wales. The Enferplex test has been included as an additional statutory test for use in breakdown herds in England and Scotland. In Wales the combination of tests (DPPVetTB/IDEXX) remains the same.

For herds not in a breakdown, APHA offer the DPPVetTB/IDEXX test using the Serial Test Interpretation, which provides the same specificity and sensitivity as the 4-spot enferplex test. APHA are not able to offer the Enferplex test to non-breakdown herds.

It is important to note that the way the blood tests are usually interpreted outside of a breakdown (4 spot Enfer or DPPVetTB/IDEXX in serial interpretation) gives up sensitivity for specificity - that is the ability to find disease if present is reduced to lower the risk of a false positive. When used in this way the sensitivity is just over 55%, so while the tests are helpful, they are not a guarantee of freedom from disease when used on individual animals. You must therefore use the same risk assessment as always when buying new stock. Do not be afraid to ask about the TB history of any herd that you receive animals from. No responsible breeder will take offence.


16/12/2015 APHA Official Veternarian (OV) instructions

Link to APHA OV instructions:

 http://ahvla.defra.gov.uk/External_OV_Instructions/TB_Camelids_Instructions/Updates/index.htm

22/02/2016  Defra table updated.

The number of herd breakdowns for 2015 has been amended to 6 from 5. See here

04/07/2016  Link to Defra interactive TB breakdown map

Below is a link to the Defra interactive map showing the location of breakdowns. You can enter your postcode or holding number to zoom to y our area.  http://www.ibtb.co.uk/


30/10/2016 UK spoligotype identified in alpaca exported to Belgium

In response to a freedom of information act request, defra have confirmed that  “in August 2015 Belgian Government officials informed the UK Chief Veterinary Officer that they had confirmed TB in an alpaca sent from the UK to Belgium”.



01/10/2016  Non Bovine Consultation - ends November 8th 2016

The consultation document can be found by following the link below.

https://consult.defra.gov.uk/bovine-tb/proposed-tb-controls-for-pigs-and-other-species/




30/10/2016  Number of herds under restriction.

The consultation documentation contains a table showing the number of camelid herds under restrictions at the end of 2015 as 52. This will include herds restricted both as confirmed breakdowns and those under investigation. It may also include contacts traced due to movements (purchases, matings, agistment etc.) and underlines how seriously bTB should be taken. Owners need to make an informed risk assessment before buying, mating or moving alpacas.  

The number shown in red on our home page refers to a different statistic, that is, the cumulative total of camelid herds where bTB has been confirmed. It is however hopelessly out of date as Defra have not updated the their table since February 2016, and complete information for 2015 was unlikely to have been available at that point. This is indicated by the data in the Defra spreadsheet ‘Bovine TB in non-bovine species - Combined 2015’. The total of herds under restrictions at the end of 2015 is currently showing as 55 - presumably this changes as new information is confirmed or corrected - the same report for 2015 showed 64 herds under restrictions at the end of 2015.




02/12/2016 UK spoligotype identified in alpaca exported to Belgium - further detail received.

Further to the item below, we have received clarification regarding the spoligotype and its home range.


 “The information held by Defra is that the TB isolate was spoligotype 11 and the county of origin was Devon.”