Castro: 'Everyone wants to find out how this originated'
By MATTHEW WEAVER
The Washington Department of Agriculture is still several weeks away from determining whether a cow from a Moses Lake, Wash., dairy carries the state's first case of bovine tuberculosis since 1988.
"It takes up to eight weeks to grow out that culture, maybe six," said Hector Castro, communications director for the Washington Department of Agriculture. "So we're maybe halfway before we get the information on that."
Eleven cows at the Moses Lake dairy reacted to the state's recent bovine TB screening. That means further testing is required. Those cows have been removed from the herd in Moses Lake, and the state maintains its quarantine order. Roughly 1,350 animals showed no reaction to the test.
A herd next door and a dairy in Monroe, Wash., has been cleared. The original cow was purchased from the Monroe dairy about a year ago.
The state is tracing roughly 11 herds around the region. Castro said additional testing has not been decided yet.
"It's something that's going to go on for probably several more weeks," Castro said.
There are no specific directions for the greater livestock industry to follow, Castro said, noting there has been a lot of good cooperation from ranchers and dairy farmers.
"I think everyone wants to find out how this originated, how this popped up in Washington state," he said. "Everyone seems to be on the same page working toward that goal."
Castro said there is no indication Washington may lose its status as a bovine TB-free state. The federal government appears comfortable with the steps Washington State Veterinarian Leonard Eldridge and other vets have taken so far, he said.
"The federal government is going to want to see that as a state, our agency is able to respond effectively to this," he said. "They're going to be looking for that we are able to ascertain where this came from, put in any appropriate herd plans that are needed and perhaps increase testing on specific herds."