Skip to main content

Effects of trading networks on the risk of bovine tuberculosis incidents on cattle farms in Great Britain

Cite this dataset

Fielding, Helen et al. (2020). Effects of trading networks on the risk of bovine tuberculosis incidents on cattle farms in Great Britain [Dataset]. Dryad.


Trading animals between farms and via markets can provide a conduit for spread of infections. By studying trading networks we might better understand the dynamics of livestock diseases. We constructed ingoing contact chains of cattle farms in Great Britain that were linked by trading, to elucidate potential pathways for the transmission of infection, and to evaluate their effect on the risk of a farm experiencing a bovine tuberculosis (bTB) incident. Our findings are consistent with variation in bTB risk associated with region, herd size, disease risk area and history of previous bTB incidents on the root farm and nearby farms. However, we also identified effects of both direct and indirect trading patterns, such that connections to more farms in the England High Risk Area up to three movements away from the root farm increased the odds of a bTB incident, while connections with more farms in the England Low Risk Area up to eight movements away decreased the odds. Relative to other risk factors for bTB, trading behaviours are arguably more amenable to change, and consideration of risks associated with indirect trading, as well direct trading, might therefore offer an additional approach to bTB control in Great Britain.


Extensive trading data and disease history data collated by Animal and Plant Health Agency. 

We are making our code available in line with the Data accessibility manuscript: "Underlying data consist of every movement of cattle between all farms in Great Britain and their disease history. Aside from the size of the dataset, there are substantial issues of confidentiality (locations, trading practices) and commercial sensitivity in these data. They are collated and managed by Defra, via the Animal and Plant Health Agency, who grant access to the data with specific permissions for specific studies. In practice, this means that the data can be used for the stated purpose only, and making the data publicly accessible would not conform to the licence the authors have been granted to use these data. With the agreement of the journal's Editorial Office, the authors will not be able to make the dataset available on this occasion, but encourage readers, referees and editors to contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency data manager for data access requests. At the time of submission, the data manager is Andy Mitchell ( Code used to run our analysis is available at Dryad data repository."

Usage notes

Trading data and disease data may be available by agreement with the Animal and Plant Health Agency. We are making our code available. In case of any queries, please contact the first or corresponding authors.


Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Award: BB/M015874/1