Open Access Open Badges Research article

Eradication of bovine tuberculosis at a herd-level in Madrid, Spain: study of within-herd transmission dynamics over a 12 year period

Julio Alvarez1, Andres M Perez23, Javier Bezos4, Carmen Casal4, Beatriz Romero4, Sabrina Rodriguez-Campos4, Jose L Saez-Llorente5, Rosa Diaz6, Jesus Carpintero6, Lucia de Juan47* and Lucas Domínguez47

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13071, Ciudad Real, Spain

2 Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance (CADMS), Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, 95616, USA

3 CONICET/Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias UNR, Boulevard Ovidio Lagos y Ruta 33, Casilda, Santa Fe, Argentina

4 Centro VISAVET, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Avda. Puerta de Hierro S/N, 28040, Madrid, Spain

5 Subdirección General de Sanidad de la Producción Primaria, Dirección General de Recursos Agrícolas y Ganaderos, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino, C/ Alfonso XII, 62, 28071, Madrid, Spain

6 Área de Ganadería, Dirección General de Medio Ambiente, Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Vivienda y Ordenación del Territorio de la Comunidad de Madrid, C/ Ronda de Atocha 17, 28012, Madrid, Spain

7 Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Avda. Puerta de Hierro S/N, 28040, Madrid, Spain

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BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:100  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-100

Published: 29 June 2012



Eradication of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) through the application of test-and-cull programs is a declared goal of developed countries in which the disease is still endemic. Here, longitudinal data from more than 1,700 cattle herds tested during a 12 year-period in the eradication program in the region of Madrid, Spain, were analyzed to quantify the within-herd transmission coefficient (β) depending on the herd-type (beef/dairy/bullfighting). In addition, the probability to recover the officially bTB free (OTF) status in infected herds depending on the type of herd and the diagnostic strategy implemented was assessed using Cox proportional hazard models.


Overall, dairy herds showed higher β (median 4.7) than beef or bullfighting herds (2.3 and 2.2 respectively). Introduction of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) as an ancillary test produced an apparent increase in the β coefficient regardless of production type, likely due to an increase in diagnostic sensitivity. Time to recover OTF status was also significantly lower in dairy herds, and length of bTB episodes was significantly reduced when the IFN-γ was implemented to manage the outbreak.


Our results suggest that bTB spreads more rapidly in dairy herds compared to other herd types, a likely cause being management and demographic-related factors. However, outbreaks in dairy herds can be controlled more rapidly than in typically extensive herd types. Finally, IFN-γ proved its usefulness to rapidly eradicate bTB at a herd-level.