The 74th cattle herd in Michigan since 1998 has been identified as having bovine tuberculosis (TB). On April 25, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) confirmed that a small beef cattle herd in Alpena County tested positive for bovine TB. The discovery was made through routine surveillance testing.
Michigan has had a number of bovine TB cases and much of it is due to wild white-tailed deer carrying the disease through the state’s modified accredited zone, a USDA designation for Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties. Within this zone annual surveillance and movement testing is required for cattle producers. This helps find the disease early and prevents it from being moved off the farm via cattle.
“Although a great deal of work is being done by producers in this area of the state, MDARD, the Department of Natural Resources, and partner agencies to prevent bovine TB cases, we do still occasionally see newly infected herds,” says Michigan’s Assistant State Veterinarian Nancy Barr, DVM. “Responding to them in an effective manner helps prevent further cases and protect the state’s TB free status in the remainder of the state. MDARD and the DNR are working with farmers, hunters, and community members to preserve and maintain healthy cattle, healthy deer and healthy communities.”
Bovine TB is a respiratory disease that can cause weight loss and chronic coughing. There are a number of species that are susceptible to the zoonotic disease including elk, deer, bison, goats, swine, cats and humans. Pasteurization of milk removes the risk of transmission to people and meat from infected animals does not enter the food chain.
The disease can be spread amongst livestock from TB bacteria being expelled by infected animals into the air to be inhaled or even in contaminated feed.
For more on bovine TB in Michigan read the following articles: