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Jonathan Shaw: Our ultimate aim continues to be the eradication of bovine TB. However, due to the current level of the disease, our first priority is to focus on using the approaches outlined in the Government strategic framework for the sustainable control of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain to control the disease and prevent further spread. Once we have the disease under control, the next stage is to consider eradication.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the change in the number of cattle which will be slaughtered as reactors to bovine tuberculosis tests using gamma interferon compared with numbers arising from skin tests alone; and what estimate he has made of the costs of compensation arising from any such change. 
In the 12 months following the introduction of the current gamma interferon (gIFN) testing policy (23 October 2006 to 31 October 2007), 2,327 reactors were identified in Great Britain from a total of 31,047 cattle receiving this blood test (7.5 gIFN test reactors per 100 cattle tested). In the same period,
some 24,500 cattle were identified as reactors to a total of approximately 5.3 million skin tests. However, the proportions of animals reacting to each type of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) test are not directly comparable, as the two tests are used for different reasons and applied to cattle populations of different bTB risk and prevalence.
The proportion of cattle reacting to the gIFN test is in line with that observed with this test, in GB, prior to the rollout of the current policy. The observed rise in the total number of gIFN test reactors slaughtered has been substantial, but not unexpected, given the significant increase in numbers of animals receiving this test compared to previous years. This is a not unexpected consequence of a bTB testing policy that is intended to improve and speed up the detection and removal of infected cattle in infected (or at-risk) herds, by supplementing the primary skin test with the more sensitive ancillary blood test.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of expenditure on measures to counter bovine tuberculosis in the period of the 2008-11 Comprehensive Spending Review, broken down by activity. 
Jonathan Shaw: GB expenditure on bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in 2007-08 was £79.8 million(1). However, we are unable to provide an accurate forecast of expenditure on bTB in the period of the 2008-11 comprehensive spending review as budgets have not yet been finalised.
(1) Includes expenditure on cattle testing, compensation, research, the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, surveillance activity by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and HQ overheads.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cattle have been slaughtered as tuberculosis reactors (a) solely as a result of the gamma interferon test, (b) solely as a result of the tuberculin skin test and (c) as a result of a tuberculin skin test and the gamma
interferon test in each of the last 24 months; and how many of these in each case tested negative for bovine tuberculosis at post mortem examination. 
Jonathan Shaw: The table presents the number of cattle slaughtered as reactors to the tuberculin skin test or gamma interferon (gIFN) test since use of the gIFN test was rolled out in certain herds in late October 2006.
It is not possible to produce an accurate figure for reactors to both tests because cattle are only officially recorded as reactors to either the skin or gIFN test, not both. Cattle reacting to both the skin and gIFN test are recorded on Animal Health IT systems as skin test reactors alone, this being the primary test for tuberculosis that, for example, determines the relevant date for ascertainment of the compensation payable to the owner.
The difference in the number of reactors to each test should not be viewed as a reflection of any discrepancies between results to the two tests. Rather, this is due to the fact that the two tests are used for different purposes and only a relatively small proportion of all the cattle undergoing skin testing will have also received the ancillary gIFN test.
The table also includes the number of skin test reactors in which evidence of TB was also found after post-mortem examination and culture. Failure to detect lesions of tuberculosis by post-mortem examination at the slaughterhouse, or to culture Mycobacterium bovis in the laboratory, does not imply that a test reactor was not infected with bovine TB. Indeed, in the early stages of this disease it is not always possible to observe lesions during abattoir post-mortem examination, and, due to the fastidious nature of this organism, it is very difficult to isolate it from tissue samples without visible lesions. Meaningful confirmation rates for gamma interferon reactors cannot be provided, as a significant proportion of gIFN positive animals are not subject to laboratory culture, as infection has already been identified in the herd. On average, post-mortem evidence of TB is typically found in 35 to 45 per cent. of skin test reactors and 15 to 20 per cent. of gIFN test reactors.
|Number of cattle slaughtered as reactors to:|
|Tuberculin skin test|
|Month||gIFN test( 1)||Total( 2)||With post-mortem of cultural evidence of infection( 3)|
|(1) Includes animals tested under gIFN parallel testing conditions which were not classified as tuberculin skin test reactorsthis excludes rapid IR x2 gIFN tests as reactors under this scenario will not be slaughtered solely as a result of the gIFN test result.|
(2) Tuberculin skin test reactors.
(3) Tuberculin skin test reactors where TB was confirmed at post-mortem testing slaughterhouse examination and/or laboratory culture testing.
(4) Includes data for 23 October30 November 2006.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the reliability of the (a) gamma interferon test and (b) tuberculin skin test for detecting bovine tuberculosis. 
However, no diagnostic test for bovine tuberculosis (TB) is 100 per cent. accurate, as defined by the tests diagnostic sensitivity (the probability of correctly identifying infected cattle as test positives) and specificity (the probability of correctly classifying non-infected cattle as test negative).
The comparative skin test, which we are required to use as the primary TB screening test by EU legislation, has a specificity of 99.9 per cent. and a sensitivity of 77 to 95 per cent. (approx 80 per cent.). The gamma interferon test, which is also approved under EU legislation for use as an ancillary test alongside the skin test, has a specificity of 96 to 97 per cent. and a sensitivity of 71 to 94 per cent. (approx. 88.3 per cent.). These performance characteristics are based on a review of a range of published papers from around the world and by assessing test performance under GB conditions.
Importantly, the TB skin and gamma interferon tests identify different sub-sets of TB-infected cattle. So, when the two tests are used together in herds with confirmed TB infection in such a way that animals positive to either test are declared reactors and removed from the herd, they can considerably increase the overall sensitivity of the TB testing regime.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the efficacy of polymerase chain technology for testing (a) live and (b) dead cattle for bovine TB either alone or as a supporting test to the skin test. 
Jonathan Shaw: We recognise that Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has potential for speeding up the process of identifying the presence of Mycobacterium bovis in animal tissues and the environment. DEFRA has been funding work using the PCR technique to develop tests for M. bovis since 1999.
A method for the detection of M. bovis by PCR direct from bovine tissues (from dead animals) in the laboratory is currently being evaluated. PCR is not as sensitive as culture, but can provide a more rapid confirmation of the disease in animals revealing suspicious lesions at slaughter.
Work on using PCR for detection of M. bovis in clinical samples from live animals has shown it is not suitable for this use. The gamma interferon blood test is used as a supporting test for the diagnosis of TB in cattle.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate the market transformation programme has made of the energy demands of computer data centres in (a) 2007-08 and (b) future years; and if he will make a statement. 
MTP work in this area will be finalised in spring 2008 and will consolidate the above estimates of energy consumption as well as indicate what potential exists to restrict the growth in energy consumption in these areas.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the amount spent in England on domestic energy saving products of each type in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
My Department grant funds the Energy Saving Trust (EST) year-on-year, supporting the valuable work which it undertakes to encourage and promote the sustainable and efficient use of energy. The ESTs energy saving recommended label is a voluntary label which is awarded to the best energy
saving products including insulation, heating controls, glazing, light bulbs, boilers and domestic appliances.
|Total e xpenditure( 1)|
|(1 )Pro rated for England only|
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