As a result of a cattle herd infected with bovine tuberculosis being identified in Presque Isle County and an additional bovine TB-positive animal from that herd being sold into Emmet County, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will host three meetings for growers whose herds will need to be tested.
TB testing will be conducted in cattle herds in portions of Presque Isle, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. Herd owners who are required to test will receive a letter from MDARD with instructions on test scheduling. Informational meetings are scheduled for:
- 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the Presque Isle District Library community meeting room,
181 E. Erie St., Rogers City, Mich.
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at Allis Township Hall (northwest corner of the intersection of Glasser Road and 638 Highway), 20018 W. 638 Highway, Onaway, Mich.
- 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Friendship Township Hall (southwest corner of the intersection of Stutsmanville Road and Beacon Hill Lane), 3018 S. Beacon Hill Lane, Harbor Springs, Mich.
Infections discovered in May
On May 1, MDARD announced the positive Presque Isle herd, which was discovered during routine bovine TB surveillance testing. Movement investigations from the infected herd prompted MDARD to locate an additional bovine TB-infected animal, which was designated as infected May 17.
Whole genome sequencing, a specific test that can identify the DNA of TB bacteria, supported evidence that the bovine TB found in both herds was similar to bovine TB in infected Presque Isle County deer in 2014 and 2015.
It also verified a direct link between the type of bovine TB found in both Emmet and Presque Isle County herds, confirming that the Emmet County animal was infected while in the Presque Isle County herd.
All the remaining animals from the herd in Presque Isle County have been removed. The only animal found to be infected in the Emmet County herd was the one moved from the Presque Isle herd. The infected animal was removed from the Emmet County herd, which is under quarantine and will continue to undergo testing to confirm that the remainder of the herd is negative for bovine TB.
“Because the Presque Isle County herd was assembled recently from herds no longer in business, it is not possible to determine the specific time and location when the bovine TB-infected deer made contact with the cattle,” Michigan assistant state veterinarian Nancy Barr says. “However, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will work with cattle producers in the vicinity of the affected herd and the previous source herds to test their cattle.”
Through its surveillance program, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources typically has found one or two bovine TB-infected deer every year in Presque Isle County.
“Presque Isle falls within the DNR’s Deer Management Unit 487, a multicounty DMU created to address bovine tuberculosis in the northern Lower Peninsula region,” says Kelly Straka, DNR state wildlife veterinarian. “Since bovine TB can become more prevalent with higher deer densities, we encourage hunters to get out in the woods this fall and keep hunting. Increased harvest can help us fight bovine TB, and deer head submission by successful hunters is critical to detect any changes in the occurrence of the disease. Locations and hours for checking deer can be found at michigan.gov/deercheck.”
“Bovine TB is a serious disease to humans and animals, and finding bovine TB in cattle in an area that has been designated TB free is concerning,” Barr says. “Preventing the spread of bovine TB from infected free-ranging, white-tailed deer to cattle herds is a top priority. Cattle owners in these areas must actively work to protect their herds daily.”
Cattle producers, MDARD advises, can protect their herds by ensuring stored feeds cannot be accessed by deer, locating feeding and watering sites in areas away from deer activity, removing fruit and nut trees in and around cattle areas, and by using Disease Control Permits from the DNR to remove deer that use a farm as a food source.
Producers in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties who have questions about how to protect a farm from contact with deer can call MDARD’s Atlanta office at 888-565-8626.