More TB in Minnesota

MINNESOTA, US – After a third round of bovine TB tests in Minnesota a single animal from a cattle herd is believed to have tested positive.
calendar icon 23 January 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of the disease investigation, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health TB-tested cattle herds within ten miles of an infected cattle herd or infected white-tail deer. The newly detected Roseau herd tested negative in 2005 and 2006, but during a third, follow-up round of testing in November, one animal tested suspect for bovine TB.

Tissue samples were collected and submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, IA where a diagnosis of bovine TB was confirmed late last week. Minnesota has now detected bovine TB in nine beef herds.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun the indemnification process, which consists of appraising the herd so that it can be purchased from the producers and put down.

"We are reviewing all options including split state status."
Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann

At this time, Minnesota’s Modified Accredited Advanced TB status will remain unchanged. Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann said that work will continue unabated to return the state to TB-Free status. However, the discovery of any additional herds could result in the downgrading of Minnesota’s status.

“We are discussing with industry representatives and USDA what to do if additional herds are found,” said Hartmann. “And we are reviewing all options including split state status. It is important that we gather all the necessary information from USDA and we have to fully comprehend the needs of the industry statewide. At that time we would be able to address the best way to regain TB-Free status. Either way, we remain committed to working with all of our partners to eliminate this disease.”

In all, approximately 347,000 TB tests have been performed since the disease was discovered in Minnesota in July 2005.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted TB surveillance of hunter-harvested whitetailed deer in the affected area of northwest Minnesota. Over 3,000 deer have been tested in this area since 2005, with 13 deer testing positive and an additional four testing presumptive positive for the disease this past fall.

Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program coordinator, said complete test results will be available within the next several weeks.

“Although finding additional infected deer is obviously a concern, the good news is that the prevalence of the disease remains low and is confined to a small geographic region,” Carstensen said. “The DNR is taking every precaution to prevent bovine TB from spreading through the deer herd.”

Due to preventative measures taken by the beef and dairy industries and animal health officials, cattle infected with bovine TB pose little risk to human health. The United States has actively pursued a bovine TB eradication program since 1917, which includes food safety initiatives such as milk pasteurization and specific examinations of internal organs for TB at slaughter.

All cattle that enter the food supply are inspected at harvest by inspectors that are trained to recognize and report any animals with symptoms of TB and other diseases. It is this inspection process that led to the discovery of the first infected herd in Minnesota.

Further Reading

       - Find out more information on bovine TB by clicking here.

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