Bovine TB: ND cattle herd released from quarantine
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP)--A southwestern North Dakota beef cattle herd has been declared free of bovine tuberculosis and released from quarantine, though neighboring herds are still being tested.
Cattle in the suspect herd were tested after a cow with a TB lesion was found at a meat processing plant in Long Prairie, Minn., late last year. The cow was traced back to the southwestern North Dakota herd, which was quarantined so animals could not be moved without state consent.
"North Dakota's tuberculosis-free status remains in effect, and that is very good news," Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said May 8.
North Dakota has been deemed "TB-free" for 33 years. A state must have at least two herds test positive for the disease within two years to lose that status. The last time a North Dakota cow herd tested positive for bovine TB was in 1999 in Morton County. The herd was destroyed.
Beth Carlson, the deputy state veterinarian, said all 270 adult animals in the southwestern herd were tested initially, and many of them also went through a required second round of tests handled by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. Nothing was found.
"At the same time, it had to come from somewhere," Carlson said of the bovine TB that afflicted the cow discovered at the processing plant. "It's frustrating when you're trying to find where it came from and you're unable to do so."
Carlson said officials believe the cow with the TB lesion was born in the herd, which the Department of Agriculture has declined to identify until the entire investigation is complete. She said it is possible that the bovine TB came from somewhere in the area but that there are other possibilities. One, she said, is that the cow's mother was bought somewhere else, had the disease and passed it on to the calf before dying or being sent to slaughter.
Testing of two neighboring herds has wrapped up. Tests on a third herd are expected next week. Testing of a fourth herd will be done later this month.
Had bovine TB been found in the suspect herd, state wildlife officials were prepared to kill hundreds of deer and elk in the region to prevent them from spreading the disease to other livestock.
Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the state Game and Fish Department, and assistant wildlife chief Greg Link were out of the office late May 8 and could not be reached for comment.