A model of bovine tuberculosis in the badger Meles meles: an evaluation of control strategies.
An individual-based stochastic simulation model was used to investigate the control of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in the European badger Meles meles. Nearly all population and epidemiological parameters were derived from one study site and the transmission of TB from badgers to cattle was included. The model appeared to underestimate slightly the rate of population recovery following widespread culling possibly due to simulating an isolated population with no immigration and no compensatory increase in fecundity. Of the historical methods of badger control, gassing and the 'clean ring' strategies were the most effective at reducing disease prevalence in the badger and cattle herd breakdown rates. These results agree with those of earlier models. The proactive use of a live test to detect TB, followed by vaccination, appears to reduce substantially cattle herd breakdowns and disease prevalence in the badger. Three combined control strategies gave the best initial reduction in cattle herd breakdown rate and disease prevalence in the badger: (i) a proactive cull followed by reactive test and cull; (ii) a continued vaccination and proactive test and cull and (iii) a continuous proactive test and cull. The results of simulation models suggest that badger vaccination is a very good method of TB control.