Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Badger sleeping habits could help target TB control

Date:
December 19, 2012
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Sleeping away from the family home is linked to health risks for badgers, new research has revealed. Scientists found that badgers which strayed away from the family burrow in favor of sleeping in outlying dens were more likely to carry TB.

Sleeping away from the family home is linked to health risks for badgers, new research by the University of Exeter and the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) has revealed.

Scientists found that badgers which strayed away from the family burrow in favour of sleeping in outlying dens were more likely to carry TB.

The 12-month study of 40 wild badgers was funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and could have implications for the management of bovine TB in parts of the UK. The behaviour of individual animals is thought to be a key factor in how the disease is spread among animals and livestock. The new findings could help to understand and develop measures to manage TB in badgers.

The study was published online in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The work was carried out by Dr Nicola Weber of the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus, who said: "At a time when stopping the spread of TB is vital for British farming, it's crucial to understand all of the factors involved in the transmission of the disease. Our research found that some individual badgers are more likely to sleep in setts in the outskirts of their territory. These individuals may be coming into contact with other sources of infection more frequently, meaning they could be more likely to both contract and to spread the disease, either to other badgers or to cattle."

Dr Weber attached electronic surveillance collars to badgers from eight groups at Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire, where the badger population is naturally infected with TB. Scientists selected a sample of 40 badgers from across the groups to provide a representative sample of age and sex.

In the study, each group had a territory made up of one or two main setts, which are used as the primary year-round underground den. They also had between three and eight outlying setts, which were occupied less frequently. The badgers were monitored for 28 consecutive days per season for one year to investigate how patterns differed between individuals.

Professor Robbie McDonald of the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute said: "Badgers occupying outlying dens are most likely to be looking for a mate, or defending their group territories. We think they acquire infection as a result of living on the periphery and contacting more individuals from other social groups, rather than because they are ostracised as a result of contracting the disease. It would be valuable to test the relationship between behaviour and infection more thoroughly.

"For all sorts of human epidemics, from typhoid to the common cold, some people are known to behave in a particular way which means they are more likely to spread the disease than the average individual. Our research demonstrates that this may also be true of TB in badgers. This knowledge could have long-term implications for managing the disease. Whatever the means of tackling infection in wildlife, it would be beneficial to know which individuals are most likely to spread TB to badgers and to cattle, and to design cost-effective management measures accordingly."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicola Weber, Stuart Bearhop, Sasha R. X. Dall, Richard J. Delahay, Robbie A. McDonald, Stephen P. Carter. Denning behaviour of the European badger (Meles meles) correlates with bovine tuberculosis infection status. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s00265-012-1467-4

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Badger sleeping habits could help target TB control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133432.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2012, December 19). Badger sleeping habits could help target TB control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133432.htm
University of Exeter. "Badger sleeping habits could help target TB control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133432.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins