Michigan detects 61st bovine TB case via annual testing

The first positive TB case in Michigan in 2015 was found via routine bovine tuberculosis (TB) surveillance testing, Michigan's department of agriculture announced Friday. This marks the 61st case of bovine TB found since 1998 in Michigan, which has had a string of infections in the northeastern Lower Peninsula due to high cattle and white-tailed deer populations passing the infectious bacterial disease. 

Michigan lost its bovine TB-free status in 2000. Today, the bovine TB is endemic in a limited, four-county area in Northeastern Lower Michigan called the Modified Accredited Zone (MAZ). All Upper Peninsula counties and 54 of the 61 Lower Peninsula counties keep their bovine TB-free status bestowed upon them by USDA in 2011.

Routine testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed a medium size dairy herd as bovine TB positive on Friday. This is the 61st herd found in Michigan with bovine TB since 1998.

According to MDARD, to date, there have been 61 cattle herds, 3 feedlots, and 4 privately-owned cervid herds confirmed positive for bovine tuberculosis. 52 of the 68 TB positive farms/feedlots (76%) are in the 4 county core area  (MAZ) with the following breakdown: Alcona 14 (23%), Alpena 27 (44%), Montmorency 7 (7%), Oscoda 4 (7%). Other counties to be noted: Emmet 4 (7%), Antrim 3 (5%), and Presque Isle 3 (4%). Eight of the cattle herds were infected twice.

Bovine TB is an infectious bacterial disease that affects cattle and white-tailed deer in Michigan's northeastern Lower Peninsula.  

An informational meeting for cattle producers in Alpena County is scheduled for: 
May 14, 2015 at 7 PM at the Green Township Hall, 14621 M 32 W., Lachine, MI  49753.

"Finding TB in a herd is always hard on the impacted farm. This case underscores why annual testing is so important and why we collectively continue to work toward eradicating this disease," said Dr. Rick Smith, Assistant State Veterinarian, said in a release.

Annual surveillance testing is designed to catch disease in the very earliest stages. All cattle in Michigan must also have electronic identification eartags before they may move from the farm. Electronic identification allows MDARD to trace cattle and control the spread of disease in the event of an investigation.  

Bovine TB is an infectious disease that is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis. Bovine TB primarily affects cattle; however, in Michigan wild white-tailed deer in northern Lower Michigan have become infected. Bovine TB can be transmitted between wildlife populations and other mammals, including humans.