Glossary

Two glossaries are provided below: one of acronyms and abbreviations and the other of technical terms often encountered in discussions on bovine TB and badger control including on this site. All government and non-governmental institutions included below are UK-based unless otherwise stated.

Definitions of Key Technical Terms
Technical terms Definition
Attenuated Weakened, reduced
Biodiversity The variety of life on Earth. This can range from genetic diversity to species diversity to diversity within an ecosystem
Biosecurity Procedures intended to protect humans or animals against disease or harmful biological agents
Bovine Cattle, bison and buffalo
Bovine tuberculosis An infectious disease of cattle caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. It can also infect and cause TB in many other mammal species.
Cattle herd breakdown When an animal tests positive for TB in a herd that was previously clear of the disease. The whole herd is then subjected to stricter cattle control measures and more frequent tests for TB
Clinical Relating to the observation and treatment of actual patients rather than theoretical or laboratory studies
Confirmed reactor Cattle who have tested positive for TB are called ‘reactors’ and are sent to slaughter where further tests look for visible ‘lesions’ in the body. If either lesions are found, or TB is successfully cultured, that reactor would be termed a confirmed reactor.
Culture The cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc., in an artificial medium containing nutrients
Ecosystem services The resources and processes supplied by ecosystems. These are broken down into Provisioning services (such as food and freshwater) Regulating services (such as climate regulation), Supporting services (such as nutrient cycling), and Cultural services (such as recreation).
Empirical Relying on or derived from observation rather than theory or logic
Endemic Native or restricted to a certain country or area
Endemic disease Diseases that are known to exist in the populations of living things within a certain geographical area.
Epidemiology The study of patterns of disease or productivity and welfare within an animal population and the factors that can affect those patterns
Governance Concerning power, relationships and accountability: who has influence, whose voice is heard, how decisions are made and resources allocated, and how decision-makers are held to account
Herd immunity A situation in which further transmission of an infectious disease from individual to individual has become unlikely because a large enough proportion of the total population has become immune to the disease through vaccination and/or by having natural or acquired resistance to the disease (e.g. by getting it and surviving).  Even individuals that have not been vaccinated (such as newborn animals) are offered some protection because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community. Also known as community immunity. This effect is well documented in both humans and animals.
Human-wildlife conflict Either direct of indirect conflict between animals and humans.
Incubation period The period of time between an animal being exposed to an infection and the animal showing the clinical signs of the disease
Maintenance host A member of a population of susceptible individuals that can replicate, shed and transmit pathogens efficiently to other individuals of the same species.
Notifiable disease A disease named in section 88 of the Animal Health Act 1981 or an Order made under that Act. It must be reported to the veterinary authorities (AHVLA) if it is suspected that an animal is infected with a notifiable disease
Pathogen A bacterium, virus or other microorganism that can cause disease
Perturbation In relation to badger populations. The perturbation effect is when badgers immigrate into areas where other badgers have previously been culled. This is a result of disrupted badger territories that leads to an increase in ranging behaviour and mixing between social groups.
Population A group of organisms of one species that interbreed and live in the same place at the same time
Proactive culling A strategy used in the RBCT whereby badgers were repeatedly culled across all accessible/consent land within a designated area
Reactive culling A strategy used in the RBCT whereby badgers were culled on a single occasion locally on and near farmland where recent outbreaks of TB had occurred in cattle
Reactor Cattle that have tested positive for TB are known as reactors.
Ruminant An even-toed ungulate mammal that chews the cud regurgitated from its rumen. Includes cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, deer, elk, giraffes and camels
Serological The scientific study or diagnostic examination of blood serum, especially in regards to the response of the immune system to pathogens or introduced substances
Species A group of individuals whose members can breed and create viable offspring
Subspecies A group of individuals that is a division of a species; usually arises as a consequence of geographical isolation within a species
Ungulate A hoofed mammal
Vector A carrier of disease
Wildlife reservoir One or more epidemiologically connected populations or environments in which a pathogen can be permanently maintained and from which infection is transmitted to a target population. In the case of bovine TB, badgers are often quoted as being a wildlife reservoir and cows are a target population. Existence of a reservoir is confirmed when infection within a target population cannot be sustained after all transmission between target and non-target populations has been eliminated.
Zoonosis A disease that can be transmitted from (vertebrate) non-human animals to humans and vice versa.