Testing continues for livestock tuberculosis

Dairy cattle are being further tested for tuberculosis in an ongoing Oliver County investigation.

The Oliver County case was one of two unrelated herd investigations for bovine tuberculosis discussed by the Board of Animal Health during a conference call on Friday.

The Oliver County dairy herd is the second case of tuberculosis investigated in North Dakota cattle in the last year. There are no immediate health risks to the general public in either of the cases.

North Dakota State Veterinarian Susan Keller said the Oliver County case was found in December in a non-lactating heifer when the owner agreed to have the herd tested after an employee tested positive for mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.

Tuberculosis can be transmitted from animals to humans and from humans to animals, as well as between one person and another or one animal and another. The disease can be spread between people and animals through face-to-face interaction that happens often when feeding or milking dairy cattle.

The original heifer was taken to slaughter, the herd was quarantined. The whole herd has gone through two tests using a caudal fold test.

As a result of the first test, 11 cattle have been taken to slaughter. Six were found in the second test.

All suspects found from the caudal fold testing are taken to slaughter for postmortem examination. A response to the initial test does not necessarily mean an animal has tuberculosis. Additional tests are run to determine if those animals indeed have tuberculosis

So far, two of the animals from the first whole herd test have been confirmed positive for tuberculosis. The state is still awaiting the final results for the first whole herd test done in November.

The results from the second whole herd test done in January have not been received yet either. The process can take up to eight weeks.

In order to have the quarantine released, the herd will have to have no findings of tuberculosis in two whole herd tests performed at least 60 days apart. The herd also will have to pass another assurance test six months later.

“We’re a ways out there to make a long story short,” Keller said. “Six months from March would be the earliest ... we can expect to be done.”

The employee has been treated and no longer has an active case of the disease.

In the second case, which was found in a beef cow in Morton County, the Board of Animal Health voted unanimously to lift the quarantine following three negative tuberculosis tests on the herd.

The cow that tested positive had originated in Texas. More than 1,000 head of cattle were tested in the case and no spread from the original cow was found within the herd, Keller said.

The herd will undergo additional testing over the course of five years as a precautionary measure. Records will have to be kept to track all of the animals during that time.

North Dakota has been recognized as “TB-free” by the federal Agriculture Department since 1976.

North Dakota’s last reported case of bovine tuberculosis in a herd was in 1999. The Oliver County case was the first case of tuberculosis in a dairy heifer in that same time period.

Keller said North Dakota will maintain its “TB-free” designation and “consistent” status with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as long as appropriate responses to cases are made.

“As far as the USDA is concerned, we’re considered consistent and there are no additional (USDA) restrictions on cattle moving out of the state,” she said.

Wisconsin requires one negative tuberculosis test on any cattle from North Dakota moving to Wisconsin.


Source : http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/testing-continues-for-livestock-tuberculosis/article_d226feac-9040-11e3-8bba-0019bb2963f4.html      2014/2/10 12:39

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