A CUMBRIAN dairy farm is at the centre of a national bovine TB alert.
Pedigree cows testing positive for the disease around Britain were linked to the sale of a herd from a holding in the south west of the county, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) said.
The animals from the auction in Cheshire at the end of February were bought by farmers from around the country, prompting concerns that bTB could spread to other herds.
AHVLA said tests at the Cumbrian farm confirmed bovine TB was present. Restrictions have been placed on farms within three kilometres of the infected holding.
An AHVLA spokesman said: "We are aware of a number of TB positive cattle cases across GB, linked to the sale of dairy cattle from a herd in Cumbria at the end of February.
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"AHVLA has taken robust and rapid action to identify, isolate and test all animals originating from this herd to minimise the spread of disease.
"The herd of origin in Cumbria has been placed under movement restrictions and TB testing of neighbouring holdings within a three kilometre radius is underway.
"Investigations are at an early stage and it would be premature to speculate on the origin of infection in the herd in Cumbria.
"We do not comment on individual cases, but this incident highlights how serious a problem TB is for all cattle farmers, regardless of where they farm."
NFU Cumbria County Chairman Richard Geldard said: "The NFU have been in contact with AHVLA and we understand that the situation is subject to a full veterinary investigation at present with immediate action been taken to trace and test all animals moved along with increasing the surveillance on surrounding herds.
"We'll continue to be involved in supporting our affected members in Cumbria and across the country and working with AHVLA. Investigations into the outbreak are at an early stage. It would be premature to speculate as to the origin of infection in the Cumbrian herd."