Bovine TB is scary because it can also spread to humans, scientists warn. The probability is high following reports of six human cases in England, out of which one ended in death. Following this, The Health Protection Agency has stressed the need for better controls and checks to be instituted.
During an investigation conducted by the HPA using DNA finger printing, it was seen that all cases had a common factor. The spread was caused due to person-to-person contact.
Changed laws on pasteurisation and TB eradication programmes has helped cut the numer of deaths due this disease. Only 1% of TB cases in the western countries is due to bovine TB. The rest are caused by the notorius TB causing organism - Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
The authors of the study felt that in the absence of good public health control measures , such outbreaks could be possible. A Defra spokesman said: "Human to human spread of M bovis is extremely unusual. A low occupational risk of M bovis infection remains for farmers, veterinarians, abattoir workers and other people who may come into contact with infected animals or their carcases, or for those who regularly consume unpasteurised cows milk."