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2015-01-22

Cattle tuberculosis confirmed in Texas

Special to the Courier

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has confirmed Cattle tuberculosis (TB) in two Texas Panhandle dairies located in Castro County.
The infected herds are under quarantine and will remain so until the herds meet all requirements for quarantine release through testing and removal of infected animals. Dairy, calf- raising and dairy heifer raising operations in Texas and other states with epidemiological links to the infected herds will be tested to determine the possible origin or potential spread of the disease.
Cattle tuberculosis is a chronic debilitating respiratory disease whose symptoms can include progressive weight loss, chronic cough, and general loss of condition. Like many other diseases, TB transmission is facilitated when animals are concentrated or held in close confinement. Infected animals normally spread the TB bacteria to their herd mates by expelling infective droplets into the air which are inhaled, or contaminate feed.
A variety of other species are susceptible to TB, including elk, deer, bison, goats, swine, cats and humans. Sheep and horses are rarely affected. Although TB can affect humans, pasteurization of milk removes any risk of transmission, and meat from infected animals does not enter the food chain.
Cattle TB caused more losses among U.S. farm animals in the early part of this century than all other infectious diseases combined. Through a cooperative state-federal program, bovine tuberculosis has been nearly eradicated from livestock in the US.
Dr. Dee Ellis, Texas state veterinarian said, "The detection of these new herds simply indicates our strong surveillance system is effective. The TAHC is working closely with the dairies involved and the Texas dairy industry to ensure the disease is quickly contained, and the affected dairies can return to normal business practices as soon as possible."
For information about TB in the Panhandle, contact the Region 1 office at 1-806-354-9335. For general information about TB, call 1-800-550-8242 or visit http://www.tahc.texas.gov/animal_health/cattle_tb/cattle_tb.html.