A team of researchers has proven for the first time that vaccinating cattle for TB not only limits the disease’s impact on vaccinated animals, but also that it reduces the spread of the disease from vaccinated animals which become infected with TB.

The study was carried out over two years in Ethiopia, led by the University of Cambridge and Penn State University.

It concluded that although vaccinating cattle does not completely eliminate the chances of vaccinated cattle spreading the disease, it could reduce transmission by almost 90%.


The researchers noted that Ireland is among the developed countries which experience “considerable economic pressures” from the traditional test-and-slaughter approach of combatting the disease in cattle.

However, they stated that using vaccines alone to eradicate the disease in cattle would take decades and require a long-term commitment to a vaccination programme.

The researchers added that the effectiveness of BCG vaccinations in cattle beyond the two years which they examined must be assessed further.

The researchers claimed that their findings help alleviate some of the concerns cited by government agencies which do not currently license BCG vaccines for cattle.