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Behaviour of European badgers and non-target species towards candidate baits for oral delivery of a tuberculosis vaccine

Robertson, A, Delahay, RJ, McDonald, RA, Aylett, PA, Henderson, R, Gowtage, S, Chambers, Mark and Carter, SP (2016) Behaviour of European badgers and non-target species towards candidate baits for oral delivery of a tuberculosis vaccine Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 135. pp. 95-101.

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In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the European badger (Meles meles) is a maintenance host for Mycobacterium bovis, and may transmit the infection to cattle causing bovine tuberculosis (TB). Vaccination of badgers using an injectable Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is undertaken in some areas of the UK with the intention of interrupting this transmission, and vaccination research is underway in Ireland. An oral badger TB vaccine is also under development. We investigated the behaviour of badgers and non-target wildlife species towards three candidate baits being considered for delivering BCG to badgers orally. Bait preference was investigated by recording removal rates of baits and through the use of video surveillance at 16 badger setts. We found high variation in rates of bait removal by badgers among setts but no significant differences in removal rates among bait types or in preference behaviour from video footage. Variation in bait removal among setts correlated with the number of nights on which badgers were seen at the sett, with most baits being removed where badgers were seen on >50% of nights during the ten-day study period. Relatively few baits were removed at setts with low levels of recorded badger activity. Monitoring badger activity prior to bait deployment may therefore be useful in increasing bait uptake and vaccine coverage. Bait removal by badgers increased over the ten-day study period, suggesting initial neophobic behaviour at some setts and that a period of ‘pre-feeding’ may be required prior to vaccine deployment. Our results indicate that all three candidate baits are attractive to badgers. Removal of baits by non-target wildlife species was generally low, but varied among bait types, with smaller baits in packaging less likely to be removed. Enclosing baits in packaging is likely to deter non-target species, although in some cases non-target species did remove up to 13% of packaged baits.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Veterinary Medicine
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Authors :
Robertson, A
Delahay, RJ
McDonald, RA
Aylett, PA
Henderson, R
Gowtage, S
Carter, SP
Date : 14 November 2016
DOI : 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2016.11.007
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Uncontrolled Keywords : Badger BCG Bovine tuberculosis Oral vaccination
Additional Information : Full text not available from this repository.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 08 Mar 2017 15:28
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 17:13

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