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Bait uptake by wild badgers and its implications for oral vaccination against tuberculosis

Boulinier, Thierry, Carter, Stephen P., Robertson, Andrew, Palphramand, Kate L., Chambers, Mark A., McDonald, Robbie A. and Delahay, Richard J. (2018) Bait uptake by wild badgers and its implications for oral vaccination against tuberculosis PLoS ONE, 13 (11).

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The deployment of baits containing vaccines or toxins has been used successfully in the management of wildlife populations, including for disease control. Optimisation of deployment strategies seeks to maximise uptake by the targeted population whilst ensuring cost effectiveness. Tuberculosis (TB) caused by infection with Mycobacterium bovis affects a broad range of mammalian hosts across the globe, including cattle, wildlife and humans. The control of TB in cattle in the UK and Republic of Ireland is hampered by persistent infection in European badgers (Meles meles). The present study aimed to determine the best strategy for maximising uptake of an oral vaccine by wild badgers, using a surrogate novel bait deployed at 40 badger social groups. Baits contained a blood-borne biomarker (Iophenoxic Acid, IPA) in order to measure consumption in badgers subsequently cage trapped at targeted setts. Evidence for the consumption of bait was found in 83% (199/240) of captured badgers. The probability that badgers had consumed at least one bait (IPA >10 μg ml-1) was significantly higher following deployment in spring than in summer. Lower uptake amongst social groups where more badgers were captured, suggested competition for baits. The probability of bait consumption was significantly higher at groups where main and outlier setts were provided with baits than at those where outliers were present but not baited. Badgers captured 10–14 days post bait feeding had significantly higher levels of bait uptake compared to those caught 24–28 days later. Uptake rates did not vary significantly in relation to badger age and whether bait was placed above ground or down setts. This study suggests that high levels of bait uptake can be achieved in wild badger populations and identifies factors influencing the potential success of different deployment strategies. The implications for the development of an oral badger vaccine are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Authors :
Boulinier, Thierry
Carter, Stephen P.
Robertson, Andrew
Palphramand, Kate L.
Chambers, Mark
McDonald, Robbie A.
Delahay, Richard J.
Date : 9 November 2018
Funders : Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0206136
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018 Carter et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Depositing User : Diane Maxfield
Date Deposited : 03 Sep 2019 13:57
Last Modified : 03 Sep 2019 13:57

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