Medidas simples de exclusión previenen la transmission indirecta en la confluencia ganado-fauna

Tuberculosis (TB) is endemic in Eurasian wild boar and red deer in south central Spain, where evidence suggests transmission to domestic cattle. Known risk factors for TB at the interface between livestock and wild ungulate species include density and spatial overlap, particularly around waterholes during summer. We evaluated the effectiveness of selective exclusion measures for reducing direct and indirect interaction between extensive beef cattle and wild ungulates at waterholes as an alternative for the integrated control of TB. We first monitored 6 water points (WP) with infrared-triggered cameras at a TB positive cattle farm to quantify interactions. We then assigned 3 WP to be“cattle-only” and 3 to be “wildlife-only”. Cattle-only WP were surrounded with a wildlife proof fence (2.5 m high) and an original design of cattle-specific gate. Wildlife-only WP were surrounded by a fence that wild ungulates could breach but cattle could not (1.2 m high). Red deer, roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and wild boar easily jumped or undercrossed this fence. Wildlife-only fences were 100% effective in preventing cattle access to WP and did not impede wildlife use. Many cows learned to operate the cattle-specific gate quickly and others followed and learned from them. Within 2 weeks, around 70% of cows actively entered and exited through the cattle-specific gate. We demonstrate how simple, low cost fencing strategies can serve as biosecurity measures to substantially reduce direct and indirect contact between cattle and wild ungulates, serving to reduce the potential for TB transmission. Our designs can be used in the context of integral plans to mitigate disease transmission between cattle and wildlife, and have potential for protecting or segregating the use of a variety of resources in different contexts.

cattle bump gate

cattle Tb incidence

A cattle bump gate (upper panel) and the TB control skin test results in the study farm and in the control farms from the same veterinary unit. Skin test reactors diminished after setting up selective fences on the study farm, and not in the controls.

Related article:

Barasona, J.A., VerCauteren, K.C., Saklou, N., Gortazar, C., Vicente, J. (2013). Effectiveness of cattle operated bump gates and exclusion fences in preventing ungulate multi-host sanitary interaction. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 111: 42-50.

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