Bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been confirmed in a South Dakota beef herd.

Agricultural Research Service/USDA
Agricultural Research Service/USDA

State Veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven says that the suspect animals were initially identified in February by meat inspectors during routine slaughter inspection of otherwise healthy appearing animals. The origin of the cattle was traced to a herd in Harding County based on animal identification records. Herd testing along with laboratory confirmation has revealed additional infected animals.

“We are working closely with the affected herd owner and USDA officials, and will be working with area veterinarians and other herd owners to evaluate the extent of the disease. We are taking the necessary precautions to protect the health of South Dakota’s cattle industry.” Oedekoven further stated that adjacent herds will be tested, and bovine TB is not a food safety threat, thanks to milk pasteurization and meat inspection programs.

Bovine TB is a respiratory disease of cattle. It is a chronic, slowly progressive disease that does not spread easily. Infected animals may be capable of transmitting an infection to other animals even if they appear healthy. The US has nearly eliminated bovine TB due to a cooperative eradication campaign. South Dakota has officially been recognized as free of the disease since 1982, although the last affected herd was identified in November, 2011.