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Bovine TB confirmed in Wisconsin dairy herd

Progressive Dairyman Editor Dave Natzke Published on 30 October 2018

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has confirmed that a Wisconsin dairy herd has tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Meat inspectors identified a carcass during a routine slaughter inspection and sent a sample to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for testing. Through animal identification records, the carcass was traced back to a herd in Dane County. DATCP immediately quarantined the herd, preventing any animals from moving on or off of the farm.

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The Associated Press reported the specific name and location of the dairy, but Progressive Dairyman was unable to immediately confirm the farm’s name. The report indicated the animals may have contracted the disease from an employee.

“We are working closely with the herd owner, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Health Services, area veterinarians, industry partners and other herd owners. We are taking aggressive measures to control and prevent the spread of this disease,” said Dr. Darlene Konkle, DATCP’s acting state veterinarian. “Our staff and partners train for these types of responses and are taking the necessary steps to protect animal and human health.”

The U.S. has nearly eliminated bovine TB due to the National Tuberculosis Eradication Program. Wisconsin has been certified as TB-free since 1980. With a thorough investigation and containment of the outbreak, Wisconsin will maintain its TB-free status with the USDA, according to DATCP.

Bovine TB is a respiratory disease of cattle that does not spread easily. It is a chronic, slowly progressive disease, meaning it can take months to years to worsen, grow or spread. Infected animals may pass the infection to other animals even if they appear healthy. Animals often do not show signs until the infection has reached an advanced stage.

Pasteurized milk continues to be safe to consume. The pasteurization process, which destroys disease-causing organisms in milk by rapidly heating and then cooling the milk, eliminates the disease from milk and milk products. Bovine TB is most commonly spread to humans through consuming unpasteurized milk or milk products from infected animals, and close contact with infected animals or people. Also, infected people can be a source of infection to animals. More information about human TB is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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Food safety laws prevent meat from infected animals from entering the food chain. State and federal inspectors at slaughter plants evaluate live animals and animal products for signs or symptoms of disease and remove any from entering food production.  end mark

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