State Prepares for Downgrade After 11th TB Blow

MINNESOTA, US - The Minnesota Board of Animal Health yesterday announced yet another positive test for bovine Tuberculosis (TB). This is the fourth positive herd detected since October 2007, and will most likely result in the downgrade of Minnesota’s bovine TB status, bringing a new range of testing requirements for some Minnesota cattle and bison.
calendar icon 20 February 2008
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Since bovine TB was discovered in a northwest Minnesota beef cattle herd in July 2005, the disease investigation has found 11 infected beef cattle herds, all in Roseau and Beltrami counties. USDA regulations prescribe a downgrade in status when more than three herds are discovered within a 12 month period.

The downgrade would change the current status from Modified Accredited Advanced (MAA) to Modified Accredited (MA), as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Code of Federal Regulations.

By dropping from MAA to MA, Minnesota moves to the third of five status levels and two steps down from the highest status level, TB-Free. When the downgrade becomes official, state producers will have to adhere to stricter federal and state testing requirements when shipping cattle or bison. The USDA will require all breeding animals to be tested for bovine TB within 60 days prior to shipment and a whole herd test within the previous 12 months. All feeder animals must have a TB test prior to movement. Cattle and bison are exempt from the testing requirement if they are moving interstate to a federally inspected slaughter facility. A Modified Accredited status may also require surveillance testing of dairy herds that sell milk.

“All Minnesota producers planning to ship animals interstate should still contact their veterinarian to determine state import requirements prior to movement,” said Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann. “Individual state import requirements may differ from federal requirements, so it’s important to verify them prior to shipment.”

At the February 13, 2008, meeting of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, members approved a motion to proceed with obtaining split-state status in order to allow the majority of the state to upgrade its status, while the counties surrounding the core area affected by TB would remain MA.

“We consider it of utmost importance to do everything we can to limit the impact of bovine TB on the state’s cattle industry as a whole,” said Hartmann. “While the downgrade in our status is a setback, we are committed to eliminating this disease from the state.”

In the upcoming days, the Board will send approximately 42,000 letters to cattle producers, veterinarians, and auction markets across the state explaining the situation and changes to interstate movement requirements. In addition, animal health officials will convene several meetings to give producers an opportunity to hear from the Board and other state and federal agencies that are managing the eradication campaign.

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