Routine bovine tuberculosis (TB) surveillance testing conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently confirmed a small beef herd as bovine TB positive in Alcona County. This is the 62nd cattle herd found in Michigan with bovine TB since 1998 and the second in 2015.
Bovine TB is an infectious bacterial disease that primarily affects cattle; however it can be transmitted between wildlife populations and other mammals, including humans. This herd is located in a small area of Michigan where TB is endemic in wild deer. Any contact either directly or indirectly with the wild deer can spread TB to a herd.
“Finding TB is always hard on the impacted farm and this case illustrates that any size herd can be infected, which is why MDARD works with producers of all sizes to mitigate their risk to help prevent the transmission of the disease into their herds from wild deer,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Assistant State Veterinarian.
Annual surveillance testing is designed to catch the disease in the very earliest stages. In order to prevent it from spreading to other farms, each herd must undergo annual testing and any additional movement off a farm must include a TB test within 30 days before movement. All cattle in Michigan must also have electronic identification eartags before they may move from the farm. Electronic identification allows MDARD to trace cattle and control the spread of disease in the event of an investigation.