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Published February 24, 2008, 12:00 AM

Belrami herd tests positive for TB

This is the fourth positive herd detected since October, and it will likely result in the downgrades of Minnesota’s bovine TB status from Modified Accredited Advanced to Modified Accredited, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Code of Federal Regulations.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has announced that a Beltrami County beef cattle herd has tested positive for bovine Tuberculosis.

This is the fourth positive herd detected since October, and it will likely result in the downgrades of Minnesota’s bovine TB status from Modified Accredited Advanced to Modified Accredited, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Code of Federal Regulations.

Since bovine TB was discovered in a northwest Minnesota beef cattle herd in July 2005, the disease investigation has found 11 infected beef cattle herds, all in Roseau and Beltrami counties.

USDA regulations prescribe a downgrade in status when more than three herds are discovered within a 12 month period.

By dropping from MAA to MA, Minnesota moves to the third of five status levels and two steps down from the highest status level, TB- Free.

When the downgrading becomes official, state producer will have to adhere to stricter federal and state testing requirements when shipping cattle or bison.

The USDA will require all breeding animals to be tested for bovine TB within 60 days prior to shipment and a whole herd test within the previous 12 months.

All feeder animals must have a TB test prior to movement. Cattle and bison are exempt from the testing requirements if they are moving interstate to a federally inspected slaughter facility. A Modified Accredited status may also require surveillance testing of dairy herds that sell milk.

“All Minnesota producers planning to ship animals interstate should still contact their veterinarian to determine state import requirements prior to movement,” said Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director and State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann. “Individual state import requirements may differ from federal requirements, so it’s important to verify them prior to shipment.”

At the Feb. 13, meeting of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, members approved a motion to proceed with obtaining split-state status in order to allow the majority of the state to upgrade its status, while the counties surrounding the core area affected by TB would remain MA.

“We consider it of utmost importance to do everything we can to limit the impact of bovine TB on the state’s cattle industry as a whole,” said Hartmann. “While the downgrading in our status is a setback, we are continued to eliminating this disease from the state.”

In the upcoming days, the Board will send approximately 42,000 letters to cattle producers, veterinarians, and auction markets across the state explaining the situation and changes to interstate movement requirements.

In addition, animal health officials will convene several meetings to give producers an opportunity to hear from the Board and other state and federal agencies that are managing the eradication campaign.

Following presentations from the Board of Animal Health and other state and federal agencies, there will be ample time for questions for the public. The meeting schedule is as follows:

? Lewiston - Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-Lewiston Sales, 21241 Dutchman’s Crossing Road

? Pipestone - Feb. 25, 7 a.m.-Pipestone Livestock Auction, E. Hwy. 30

? Melrose - Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-City Center, 225 E. 1st Street N.

? Grygla - Feb. 26, 7 p.m.-Grygla School, 114 N. Fladeland Ave.

? Thief River Falls - Feb. 27, 9 a.m.-Northland Community and Technical College, 1101 Hwy. One E.

Exposure to bovine tuberculosis through the milk or meat supply is extremely unlikely.

Meat inspectors check all cattle entering the marketplace for signs of the disease before and after slaughter. Any animal showing these signs is withheld from the food supply. In addition adequate cooking destroys the bacteria. Further, the milk pasteurization process at processing plants destroys any potential bacteria.

As the official animal disease control and eradication agency of the State of Minnesota, the Board was created over 100 years ago to safeguard the health of the state’s domestic animals. In carrying out its mission, the Board is a part of a network of state agencies protecting public health and providing an abundant, wholesome food supply to Minnesota consumers.

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