State reports progress in fighting bovine TB

US - Bovine tuberculosis has plagued Michigan since the mid-1990s, but the state has nearly eradicated the disease. Bridget Patrick, bovine TB eradication project coordinator for three state departments, said bovine TB affected 4.9 percent of the deer population in northeastern Michigan in 1995. Collective efforts dropped that rate to 1.2 percent in 2005.
calendar icon 10 November 2006
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Between August and November each year, biologists and epidemiologists test animals for bovine TB. Thus far in 2006, no cases have been discovered among livestock.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Michigan State University and the Michigan departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Community Health are working to rid the state of bovine TB.

The bacterial infection of the respiratory system spreads through saliva via coughing, sneezing and sharing food sources. It affects deer, livestock and other wildlife such as bears, cats and raccoons.

"Bovine TB is highly contagious to other livestock," Patrick said. "The 1.2 percent can spread to everyone if not controlled."

In the last year, an initiative to rid the Upper Peninsula of the disease was successful, so the UP has been declared a bovine TB-free zone.

Next year, the state hopes to declare the southern half of the Lower Peninsula disease-free as well, Patrick said.

However, the disease still has an impact on 13 counties in the northeastern Lower Peninsula, including Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, Cheboygan, Crawford, Otsego and Presque Isle.

Rep. Matthew Gillard, D-Alpena, said, "TB is a big issue in my district with all the deer and cattle. We've seen outbreaks with the deer and cattle.

"It's really affected our deer hunting in the area, and our beef and dairy farmers as well."

Source: avalanche.townnews.com
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