European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 113–123 | Cite as

Risk factors for the detected presence of Mycobacterium bovis in cattle in south central Spain

  • Catherine E. Cowie
  • Beatriz Beltran Beck
  • Christian Gortazar
  • Joaquin Vicente
  • Michael R. Hutchings
  • Dominic Moran
  • Piran C. L. WhiteEmail author
Original Paper


Tuberculosis (TB) is a chronic bacterial disease of livestock and wildlife, which has major social and economic costs. In Spain, cattle test-and-slaughter schemes have dramatically reduced TB levels, but a wildlife reservoir of the disease is thought to be preventing total eradication. We aim to identify the risk factors for the presence of TB in cattle in Spain. In this case–control study, we combined a farmer-based questionnaire and participatory mapping with government records in Almodovar, Spain. Data were collected from a mixture of TB-free and TB-infected farms, yielding a total sample of 73 farms. Generalised linear modelling and information theory were used to identify the risk factors strongly associated with TB, and farmers were also asked their opinions on TB and wildlife management. The risk factors most strongly associated with TB on a farm were the presence of wildlife, the number of streams per hectare and feeding volume foods (e.g. hay) on the ground. Farmers’ opinions about TB were influenced by their experience of the disease and their interactions with wildlife. The results highlight the complexities of managing TB, and demonstrate the need for a system-level understanding of the inter-relationships among epidemiological, ecological, environmental, social and political risk factors.


Questionnaire Risk factors Wildlife reservoir Disease management Participatory GIS Tuberculosis 



Our deep gratitude goes to all the farmers who gave up their time to take part in this study. We thank the many colleagues at IREC who helped to make this work possible. This study was funded by Plan Nacional/FEDER research project AGL2010- 55120730-C02-01 (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad). We also thank the Agriculture department of the Regional Government of Castilla–La Mancha (JCCM) for providing data from animal health campaigns. Pilar García-Jané (JCCM) and Jose Luis Sáez (MARM) made valuable comments on an earlier draft of the paper.

Ethical standards

This study conforms with the current laws of the country (Spain) where it was conducted.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 102 kb)
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10344_2013_757_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (286 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine E. Cowie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Beatriz Beltran Beck
    • 2
  • Christian Gortazar
    • 2
  • Joaquin Vicente
    • 2
  • Michael R. Hutchings
    • 3
  • Dominic Moran
    • 3
  • Piran C. L. White
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Environment DepartmentUniversity of YorkHeslingtonUK
  2. 2.IREC Wildlife Research Institute (CSIC–UCLM–JCCM)Ciudad RealSpain
  3. 3.Scottish Agricultural CollegeEdinburghUK

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