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Washington state investigates TB in dairy cow

Published on January 18, 2013 3:01AM

Last changed on February 15, 2013 2:29PM

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is investigating a case of bovine tuberculosis found in a dairy cow.

The cow had been sent to a Cowlitz County slaughter facility, but the meat was held after a food safety inspector identified a problem and submitted samples for testing, according to the department.

State health officials say there's no immediate human health concern connected to the case.

The meat from the infected cow did not enter food channels and has been destroyed, the department said in a press release.

The department's preliminary investigation indicates the cow was culled from a Grant County dairy herd and transported for slaughter Jan. 8. An inspector with USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service noticed a suspicious lesion and sent a sample to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa. The lab reported Jan. 16 the sample was consistent with bovine TB.

The department issued an order preventing the dairy from moving any cows and directing all milk produced there be pasteurized.

The investigation is ongoing. Inspectors with the Washington State Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Animal Services are working with USDA investigators to trace the disease.

Bovine TB, caused by the M. bovis bacteria, can be transmitted from livestock to humans and other animals, according to the USDA. The disease has nearly been eliminated from the U.S. livestock population, although isolated cases occasionally occur. Washington
cattle have been TB-free since 1988, thanks in large part to a robust
state and federal program for detecting the disease, and the continued
cooperation of the dairy and cattle industry, according to the WSDA press release.

In a press release, department director Dan Newhouse said safety systems were effective in identifying the problem and preventing it from spreading.

-- Matthew Weaver


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