October 30, 2018

Wisconsin Confirms Case of Bovine Tuberculosis

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)  has confirmed a case of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in a dairy herd in Dane County. DATCP has confirmed the herd is Maier Farms, LLC, Waunakee. Wisconsin had been certified bovine TB free since 1980.


Meat inspectors identified a carcass with TB during a routine slaughter inspection and sent a sample to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for testing. Once confirmed, the carcass was traced back to the Dane County farm, which was then immediately quarantined.


“We are working closely with the herd owner, USDA, Department of Health Services, area veterinarians, industry partners and other herd owners. We are taking aggressive measures to control and prevent the spread of the disease,” says Darlene Konkle, Wisconsin acting State Veterinarian.


A Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet that DATCP made available today says that the source of the TB infection may have been an infected worker. “Initial data from the carcass at slaughter confirmed that the strain of bovine TB matched the strain for an individual who worked on the farm in 2015. That individual completed treatment for TB and did not return to the farm. This data is preliminary and complete sample analysis for the herd is ongoing to confirm all possible sources of infection.”


DATCP is assuring consumers that pasteurized milk continues to be safe. Pasteurization eliminates the disease from milk and milk products. The agency notes bovine TB is most commonly spread to humans through consuming unpasteurized milk from infected animals, and close contact with infected animals or people. They also noted infected people can be a source of infection to animals. More information on how bovine TB affects people can be seen here from the Centers for Disease Control website.


Still, bovine TB is a respiratory disease of cattle that does not spread easily. It can take months to years to worsen, grow or spread. But infected animals, even if they appear healthy, can pass the disease to other animals.


With a thorough investigation and containment of the outbreak, Wisconsin will be able to maintain its TB-free status with USDA. More information on bovine TB is available here.



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