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Ibach, Hughes provide update on bovine TB case to Rock County crowd

Nebraska Agriculture Director, Greg Ibach, and State Veterinarian, Dr. Dennis Hughes provided an update June 11 on the bovine tuberculosis case in Rock County, Neb. The two spoke to a crowd of roughly 500 producers from the grandstand during the Nebraska Farm and Ranch Expo in Bassett.

NDA announced on June 1, that a cow from a Rock County beef herd had tested positive for bovine TB. The herd remains under quarantine as NDA staff continues the epidemiological investigation.

Ibach said the efforts, to date, have been focused on tracing the movement of cattle into and out of the TB-affected herd and locating any cattle that may have been pastured next to the affected herd during the past two years.

"Locating all cattle that have had possible exposure to the TB-affected herd through the fence lines is critical because bovine TB is primarily transmitted through nose to nose contact," Ibach said. "We have had outstanding support from producers as we've tackled this task."

Hughes said this part of the epidemiological investigation has lead to the quarantine of approximately 31 herds in Rock, Holt, Loup, Boyd and Brown counties. The number of cattle in these herds that will require testing totals approximately 15,000.

As testing begins, epidemiological work will continue, Hughes said, and these numbers will probably change.

"These are animals that may have had the opportunity for exposure to the affected herd through fence line contact, so all cattle over 12 months of age within these herds will need to be tested for TB," Hughes said.

Ibach said NDA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, currently is working to organize the testing schedule. Two teams will begin testing cattle early next week.

"We are assembling the necessary trained individuals to facilitate testing of this magnitude," Ibach said. "In addition to manpower, we must coordinate supplies and equipment and handle the logistics of moving everything and everybody.

"While this whole process will take an extended amount of time, we are moving as quickly as possible," Ibach said. "We ask for continued assistance from cattle producers in the Rock County and surrounding area."

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