California state and federal animal health officials have confirmed the detection of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in a dairy herd in Tulare County.
Officials are working closely with the dairy farmer and his veterinarian to implement control strategies to eradicate the disease, according to a statement issued Friday by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
“The diagnosis of TB was made after a suspicious mass was detected in a cow during routine slaughter inspection. California Department of Food and Agriculture veterinarians, in coordination with their counterparts at the United States Department of Agriculture, began testing herds that may have come into contact with the diagnosed cow, and that work led to the detection of TB in the Tulare County herd. The investigation into the possible spread of this gradually debilitating disease is ongoing. California also continues to monitor one dairy herd in San Bernardino County following a bovine TB detection there in 2011,” the statement said.
“Bovine tuberculosis does not threaten the quality and safety of milk and meat products in California. Almost all milk sold in California is pasteurized to destroy organisms that could be harmful to humans, including TB organisms. The state’s raw milk dairies are regularly tested for TB. All cattle processed for meat are inspected for signs of TB infection and rejected if they show signs of the disease,” the statement said.
Tuberculosis is a chronic, slow-spreading disease that can remain undetected for years. Infected animals, even those that appear healthy, can spread infection to other animals. The State of California has been involved in TB eradication programs since 1917.
For more information on the history of bovine TB in California, go to: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Animal_Health/pdfs/TB/Bovine_TB_Update.pdf