(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A diseased cattle herd in northern Dearborn County has been put in check.
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health says testing has been completed for bovine tuberculosis among the infected herd, the first such case in Indiana since the 1970s.
Bovine tuberculosis, scientifically titled Mycobacterium bovis, is a chronic bacterial disease that affects primarily cattle, but can be transmitted to any warm-blooded animal, including humans, according to the board. The illness is difficult to diagnose through clinical signs alone, but can become apparent in later stages include emaciation, lethargy, weakness, anorexia, low-grade fever and pneumonia with a chronic and moist cough.
The TB case was confirmed in December 2010 after a beef cow tested positive for the illness at slaughter. Animal health staff began testing animals over 1,100 animals in ten states which may have had contact with the Dearborn County herd.
Throughout the investigation, the BOAH determined only 15 beef animals with the Dearborn County herd had tested positive for TB. Those animals were euthanized for confirmatory testing.
The farmer responsible for the crop has seen all 200 of the animals on his farm destroyed to prevent spreading the TB to other area farms. The farmer will have to wait a period of time before animals will be permitted on the property again.
As part of the investigation, 47 free-ranging white-tailed deer on or near the index site were collected by Indiana Department of Natural Resource and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services for testing. None tested positive for TB, but wildlife officers will continue to monitor area deer through the fall.
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. The board says the state will be able to keep that status under federal guidelines.