Publication - Advice and guidance

Bovine TB

Published: 29 Oct 2018

Advice on what to do if you suspect there is an outbreak of this infectious disease.

Bovine TB
Bovine tuberculosis


Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is a devastating chronic disease of cattle and a major challenge facing large parts of the UK cattle farming industry today.

Although the disease is controlled in most developed countries, the complete eradication worldwide is made difficult by wildlife reservoirs that continue to exist.

It also affects other mammals including humans, badgers, deer, goats, pigs, dogs and cats.

Latest situation: the disease is currently present in Great Britain. See the latest guidance on the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on statutory TB testing and on OV briefing notes on the APHA site.

Scotland achieved Officially Tuberculosis Free Status (OTF) in September 2009. OTF is recognition of the relatively low and stable incidence of TB found in Scottish herds.

Human health implications

Bovine TB is a zoonotic which means it can be passed from infected animals to people, causing an illness similar to human TB. However, the risk of people contracting TB from cattle in Scotland is considered to be very low.


Biosecurity is about being aware of the ways disease can spread and taking every practical measure to minimise the risk of disease spreading. The advice details practical things you can do on your farm to help prevent the introduction and spread of bovine TB to and from your animals.

On 12 December 2018 The Tuberculosis (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No 2) Order 2018 came into force. It is important that all cattle keepers familiarise themselves with these new rules which include changes to disease control measures and compensation arrangements.