Bovine TB found in Huron Co. steer

Bovine tuberculosis has been confirmed in Huron County, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Monday.

The state organization said the disease was confirmed in samples taken from a two-year-old steer in Huron County.

“The animal was identified as possibly diseased and removed from the human food chain by the U.S. Department of Agricutlure, Food Safety Inspection Service, who inspected each animal during processing,” MDARD said in a press release.

The organization did not identify where the steer was located, but “a three-mile surveillance area has been established around the affected farm in Huron County.

“Farms within the special surveillance area will have six months to complete bovine TB testing. These farms will be identified by MDARD and notified through individual letters,” MDARD said.

According to a report from May issued by Penn State University – Extension, “Cattle primarily shed the bacteria from nasal secretions, feces, or milk. On occasion, the bacteria can be found in urine, semen or vaginal secretions. The bacteria can survive for months in the environment under favorable conditions. Cold, dark, and moist conditions promote the organism’s survival while dry, warm, sunny conditions promote the organism’s inactivation. The disease is a chronic debilitating disease, characterized by weight loss, weakness and a low grade fever. The lymph nodes, especially in the head and upper air way, become enlarged, caseous, or at times calcified. In the U.S. most animals are asymptotic and are found via testing and culling of test positive animals or control programs in exposed herds. The other common detection method is via surveillance by federal inspectors from slaughter house specimens.”

MDARD reports finding the animal and tracing it back to to Huron County via its radio frequency identification.

“Also included in the animal’s record, were two prior farms in Presque Isle County where the animal was located,” MDARD said. “The identified farms will be tested to ensure the disease is not present.”

“Cattle properly identified with RFID can be traced in minutes,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Assistant State Veterinarian. “Not only can we find the most recent owner, we can successfully track where the animal has moved, allowing us to stamp out disease before it spreads.”

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