Mycobacterium bovis infects the wildlife species badgers Meles meles who are linked with the spread of the associated disease tuberculosis (TB) in cattle. Control of livestock infections depends in part on the spatial and social structure of the wildlife host. Here we describe spatial association of M. bovis infection in a badger population using data from the first year of the Four Area Project in Ireland. Using second-order intensity functions, we show there is strong evidence of clustering of TB cases in each the four areas, i.e. a global tendency for infected cases to occur near other infected cases. Using estimated intensity functions, we identify locations where particular strains of TB cluster. Generalized linear geostatistical models are used to assess the practical range at which spatial correlation occurs and is found to exceed 6 in all areas. The study is of relevance concerning the scale of localized badger culling in the control of the disease in cattle.
University College Dublin ->