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IN: Surveillance for Bovine TB in White-tailed Deer Continues

By: by Indiana Department of Natural Resources

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) staff has completed testing for bovine tuberculosis of all livestock herds linked to animals associated with an infected (or “index”) herd in southeastern Indiana.

Quarantines on the index site, located in Dearborn County, were released officially in August, after the site and facilities were depopulated, cleaned, disinfected, and then left empty for 60 days.

The investigation began in late December, when a Mycobacterium bovis-positive beef cow that tested positive at slaughter was traced to southeastern Indiana. Since then, BOAH staff tested more than 1,000 head of cattle and 3 goats that had contact with high-risk animals associated with the index herd. Another 174 animals in 10 states also were traced to or from the herd.

Throughout the investigation, only 15 beef animals, all part of the index herd, tested positive on culture for the disease. All were euthanized for confirmatory testing.

As part of the investigation, 47 free-ranging white-tailed deer on or near the index site were collected by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services for testing. None tested positive for TB. Wildlife surveillance efforts will continue during this fall’s deer hunting season.

Since 2009, more than 690 deer from Franklin, Fayette, Harrison and Wayne counties have been sampled for TB when hunters check their animals at DNR stations. With the latest cattle case, that surveillance will be expanded to include Dearborn County.

Indiana has held a bovine tuberculosis-free status since 1984 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under federal guidelines, that status remains. The last time a Hoosier cattle herd tested positive for the disease was in the 1970s.

Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial disease that affects primarily cattle, but can be transmitted to any warm-blooded animal. TB is difficult to diagnose through clinical signs alone. In the early stages of the disease, clinical signs are not visible. Later, signs may include: emaciation, lethargy, weakness, anorexia, low-grade fever and pneumonia with a chronic, moist cough. Lymph node enlargement may also be present. Cattle owners who notice these signs in their livestock should contact their private veterinarian.

More information about the disease and details for this fall’s hunting season will be available online at: www.in.gov/dnr and www.in.gov/boah.

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