The number of cattle herds which have gone down with TB in the last five years reached 24,077, new figures from the Department of Agriculture show.
Between 2015 and 2020, the number of herds going down for the first time with the disease increased from 3,823 to 4,753. Cork north has had the highest number of new restrictions in 2020 with 435. It was followed by Galway with 349, Monaghan with 303, Meath with 270 and Clare with 264.
Dublin had the lowest number of new TB herd restrictions with 26, followed by Carlow with 44, Waterford with 56 and Leitrim with 60.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said that while TB disease is low relative to historical levels, the number of new restrictions and reactor numbers have been gradually increasing since 2016.
“Although the pace of deterioration accelerated in 2020, there are encouraging signs as the current 12-month rolling herd incidence at 29 August 2021 is 4.16% compared to 4.22% on 30 August 2020.
“The overall number of new herds restricted at 29 August 2021 is 2,879 compared to 3,033 on 30 August 2020, while the overall number of reactors at 29 August 2021 is 13,092 compared to 14,431 on 30 August 2020.
“If downward momentum can be maintained, it can give a sense of progress achieved by the renewed TB strategy launched in January 2021,” Minister McConalogue said, in response to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD for Kildare north Bernard Durkan.
The minister said that the causes for the outbreaks of TB cases across the country within each county are various and require a range of actions to address the problem.
In Northern Ireland, 1,861 herds were newly restricted with TB last year. To the end of August this year, some 1,216 new herds have been restricted, with 8,644 reactor animals. The annual herd incidence in Northern Ireland to the end of August 2021 is 8.59%.