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Diseases - Brucellosis - Guidance

Controlling Brucellosis spread in the event of an outbreak

Brucellosis has been eradicated from cattle herds in Great Britain and officially free status was awarded in 1985; since then it has been reintroduced on several occasions by imported cattle.  The surveillance strategy is aimed at preventing any such incursion.  However, in the event of such an outbreak there are clear contingencies and guidelines for owners and keepers aimed at preventing and limiting the spread of the disease.

  • Cattle owners or keepers have a statutory responsibility to assist in preventing the spread of any outbreak of the disease by complying with any reasonable request by a veterinary inspector for facilities to examine, test or diagnose cattle for brucellosis, and in particular, must arrange for the collection, penning and securing of the animal(s) to be tested.
  • Animals that are discovered to be infected with brucellosis will be required to be isolated and owners will be required to cleanse and disinfect premises and any vehicle or machinery before it leaves the premises.  Also, any straw or litter that might have come into contact with the foetus, calf or placenta of an infected animal must be burned, disinfected, buried or destroyed.
  • A veterinary inspector can prohibit movement of cattle suspected to be infected with Brucellosis except under the authority of a licence, or may direct cattle keepers to move animals to a specified premises to assist in the eradication and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Restrictions may be placed on the removal of animal waste from premises where an animal is infected or believed to be infected with brucellosis.
  • A notice may also be served on the owner or occupier of the premises requiring that person to ensure that milk from infected animals is not fed to other animals on the same or any other premises unless it has been pasteurised, sterilised or ultra-heat treated.
  • Restrictions may also be placed on the use of semen from any animal where a veterinary inspector suspects it is infected with brucellosis.

Any person operating a business as a cattle dealer is required to notify APHA that their premises are being used for that purpose.  This is to ensure that all animal movements can be traced should there be an outbreak of the disease.  A cattle dealer is defined as any person whose trade or business regularly includes the selling of bovine animals purchased by that person for the purpose of resale within 28 days.

The law also requires cattle owners or keepers to report any full-term calvings from animals that are part of a herd or are from a premises where Brucellosis has been diagnosed.  Full-term calving means a calving which takes place 271 days or more after service or insemination, or 265 or more days after implantation or transfer of an embryo, whether the calf is born dead or alive.

Advisory Leaflets

Brucellosis, a reminder for all cattle farmers - http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanidiseases/atoz/documents/brucellosis.pdfmal/