The Badger Vaccine Deployment Project: year one analysis aiding an adaptive management approach for increasing efficiency
Allsop, Thomas John
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle is considered one of the UK’s most serious animal health problems and the European badger (Meles meles) is widely implemented as the most important wildlife reservoir of the disease. The use of a Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination has shown to reduce the progression, severity and excretion of bTB in badgers. The first year of The Badger Vaccine Deployment Project, utilising the BCG vaccine, has recently concluded and this study acted to investigate factors affecting the efficiency of such a large scale vaccination campaign. Analysis revealed that key differences in operatives trapping behaviour, notably the number of traps sited and location of trapping, affected the number of badgers vaccinated and each individual operatives capture rate (a measure of trapping success per unit effort). Additionally capture rate declined differently between traps on setts and those placed remotely, suggesting simple alterations in the number of traps sited and/or number of times certain locations are trapped could increase the total number of badgers vaccinated. Adopting an adaptive management approach, whereby we analyse factors that affected the number of badgers vaccinated, learn from these findings, and adjust future behaviour, will be key to an effective and efficient badger vaccination campaign.
The Food and Environment Research Agency
MbyRes in Biosciences
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