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Did a Gloucestershire child catch TB from the family pet dog - health officials investigate

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 31, 2014

Did a child catch TB from a family dog

Did a child catch TB from a family dog

Comments (8)

Health experts are investigating whether a child from Gloucestershire caught TB from the family pet dog.

The child, who is aged under 10, caught a latent form of the disease last year and made a full recovery.

It followed an episode in which the family dog fell ill.

The family were all screened for tuberculosis and the dog was put down.

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If confirmed it would be the first ever case of its kind in the UK, Public Health England said.

But a spokesman added that it was “scientifically impossible” to prove whether the dormant form of TB contracted by the child had come from the dog or another source.

The spokesman said: “A family in Gloucestershire were tested for tuberculosis (TB) last year after their pet dog was confirmed with the bovine form of the infection.

“Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) is a bacterium that causes bovine TB in cattle and although the organism can infect and cause TB in humans, the risk of infection for the general public is very low.

“Human TB caused by M. bovis accounts for less than one per cent of the total TB cases in the UK and it is usually those who work closely with livestock and/or regularly drink unpasteurised (raw) milk who have a higher risk of catching the infection.

“The family is known to have connections to a veterinary practice and this was investigated as a potential source of infection.

“Public Health England offered TB screening to the family as a precautionary measure.

“This case differs from that of human TB infection from cats because there two people involved developed active TB with cat-to-human transmission.”

The news followed a case in which a teenage girl contracted TB from her pet kitten

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8 comments

  • mmjames  |  April 01 2014, 4:14PM

    oldlongdog | April 01 2014, 3:10PM GlosAnarchy - Sure, we know that farmers don't want bTB but it is THEIR problem to solve. .................. WRONG! Dealing with Tuberculosis, wherever it is found, is the Government's responsibility. Go and look up OIE regulations WRT to Tuberculosis - the UK Government is signed up to their rules and has reneged on that for far too many years and is still trying to do so.

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  • oldlongdog  |  April 01 2014, 3:10PM

    @GlosAnarchy - Sure, we know that farmers don't want bTB but it is their problem to solve. Don't forget, there are roughly 40% of farms in the TB hotspot areas that don't have it and a lot of those farmers are getting pretty fed up with those that do and never do anything effective to get rid of it. Closed herds can still pick up bTB from all sorts of wildlife vectors, most notably deer. However, in the recent cats case it was found the vet's own cats had this disease so we cannot rulle out vets as a source, either. And then there's the hunt. An infected cow spreads 60 litres a day of infected slurry over the land and then along comes 40-60 horses plus 40 odd dogs all galloping across farm boundaries without hinderance, spreading the infected muck. Should farmers double fence between their closed herds and their neighbour's infected herd? Yes! It's their business and why shouldn't they invest to protect it?! Every other business has to solve its own problems at its own expense so why not farming?! There are no easy solutions to bTB but cattle controls and improved testing are the principle methods by which this disease will be brought under control in the absence of mandatory vaccination of cattle. Vaccinating badgers (and other wildlife vectors if you can catch them) speeds up the process but tackling the cattle is the only way to stop bTB spreading to the wildlife. A lot of us are not anti-farming but we are not stupid either. Too many in the farming industry are not prepared to confront the truth about the way we farm today, the stresses that puts on cattle and the poor environment they live in, all of which contribute to this disease. If cattle weren't dying of so many other things caused by 'modern farming' then all herds could be closed. Equally, if we had more cattle markets and slaughterhouses then we wouldn't have to do so much transporting of live beasts, either. If farmers stopped being so bull headed and stubborn the public would get behind them and help. We want to because we're proud of our country and we're decent people on the whole. But it's our money you're spending and we want a say in how it's spent. We want proper scientific solutions not old rural superstitions and wive's tales about badgers and cats. @mmjames - you never give up with the pseudo-science, do you? With a human infection rate of less than 20 a year out of 60+ million people, you can hardly call bTB 'zoonotic'...

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  April 01 2014, 9:54AM

    One question, if a closed heard that has never had TB contracts it where has it come from as NO animals have been brought onto the farm? It appears as always that some are too eager to blame the farmers for what in many cases is not their fault. People talk about biosecurity but for a clean farm that may mean installing badger/deer proof fencing around the entirety of their land. This will have a detramental effect on ALL other wildlife in the area and the farmer might also ask for restrictions to stop dogs from entering their land along the line of public foot paths. Some people on here almost imply that farmers want TB in their heards, this could not be further from the truth!

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  • mmjames  |  April 01 2014, 8:33AM

    twigcat | March 31 2014, 12:09PM '' More likely to be rodents, lovie. But the source is the farm. " So all these rats and mice are deserting the cattle farms and making their way across cattle free fields to infect milking goats, sheep, free range pigs, alpacas, farmed deer and domestic or companion mammals are they? You were a day early for an April Fool!

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  • twigcat  |  March 31 2014, 12:09PM

    ''Infected badgers are spreading Zoonotic Tuberculosis wherever they roam...'' More likely to be rodents, lovie. But the source is the farm. That's where the focus must be. Irresponsible farmers and Governments have allowed the spread of infection to our wildlife, our pets and us. Direct your ire in the correct direction please.

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  • mmjames  |  March 31 2014, 10:55AM

    Infected badgers are spreading Zoonotic Tuberculosis wherever they roam [ - milking goats, sheep, free range pigs, alpacas, farmed deer and domestic or companion mammals who have had NO contact with cattle] The only reason PHE think infection rates are low is because a. they rarely test for it and b. the testing is not always accurate - read about Dianne Summers and the difficulty she had getting diagnosed and the awful side effects of the treatment she has had to undergo.

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  • clairey2010  |  March 31 2014, 9:51AM

    Does that now mean that cats should be culled? Are cows passing TB to badgers? This and many more questions WON'T be answered by these so-called "health experts" because they don't have a clue.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  March 31 2014, 9:04AM

    Don't forget according to some badgers are more important than children!

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