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USDA approves further development of TB serum bank

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced July 17 that it has approved $250,000 to be used for further development of a tuberculosis (TB) serum bank at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

The creation of this bank was initiated in 2006 by APHIS and has had significant input by the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA). This funding will support collecting a large number of samples from negative and infected cattle and white tailed deer, as well as large volume samples (10 ml or more of serum) from each animal.

The sera bank will provide serum samples that supply necessary descriptive information for each animal, with skin test results for samples from un-infected animals. Skin test, histopathology and TB culture results for each sample from infected animals will also be provided to assist stakeholders to research and develop serologic tests for bovine TB. The large majority of serum samples from uninfected animals will be collected from animals located in the United States during routine TB skin testing events. Proposed herds to target are those that are TB accredited free or are from TB-free states (based on the state cattle TB status).

The U.S. will collaborate with Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom to collect and receive serum and tissue samples from TB-infected cattle. Samples from infected cattle will be collected during herd depopulations; from known infected herds being managed by test and removal, and at slaughter. Samples from TB positive white tailed deer, if available, will be obtained from naturally infected animals located in endemic areas in the U.S. and Canada.

Criteria to be met in order to include the samples into the sera bank was sent to federal and state animal health officials in April 2009. To include blood collection from uninfected animals, each state is being asked to obtain approximately 50 blood samples from cattle, and approximately 50 blood samples from white-tailed deer. The samples may come from one or more herds. The sera bank project will pay for shipping and blood collection supplies.

Prior to scheduling sample collection for a herd being TB tested, contact sera bank project staff with information on the herd being sampled. Please consider collecting samples from both beef and dairy cattle, as well as young and adult animals--to have a representative sampling of cattle from across the country. Please contact Jeff Nelson at 515-663-7966 or Kathy Orloski at 970-494-7221 for more information.

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