Bovine TB is one of the world's most serious animal health problems as humans can also be infected. In many parts of the developing world the disease has major impacts on human health.
Bovine TB can affect a range of mammals. In New Zealand, cattle and deer are the farm livestock animals most at risk of contracting the disease.
Possums are the main wildlife carriers of bovine TB in New Zealand. Contact with infected possums is a major cause of herd infection. Wildlife such as deer and pigs can get TB (from interacting with or eating infected possums), but are "dead-end" hosts as they don't spread the disease any further.
Eradicating bovine TB is vital to maintaining the production and reputation of our valuable dairy, beef and deer export industries, with benefits for all New Zealanders.