What the Indiana Board of Health calls the 'index' herd for the case of tuberculosis found in a cow from Indiana at a Michigan slaughtering facility earlier this year has now been depopulated. That's the latest news in the unfolding case about the TB infection, explains Denise Derrer, communications specialist with BOAH.
It's now been announced that the herd was in Dearborn County in extreme southeastern Indiana. BOAH officials are trying to trace the source of infection, tracking and tracing back through animals that entered the herd during the past five years. If you're a fan of 'cop' shows such as NCIS or CSI, you know that even with sophisticated equipment, it can take a lot of time and lots of luck to make these kinds of connections.
The producer is cooperating, supplying information about where any animals that left the herd in the past five years may be today, Derrer notes. Since this particular farm did a considerable amount of out-of-state trading, the investigation is spilling over into other states.
To date, the only positive animals for tuberculosis were found on the 'index' site- the actual farm itself. No other cases have been reported. The bottom line is that the food safety net worked, and the infected carcass was found before it entered the food chain. Now the animal disease specialists are doing their job to make sure that there are no other active cases within state boundaries. Indiana still remains under tuberculosis-free status according to national regulations at this time.
The search for the TB source isn't limited to cattle. BOAH has enlisted the help of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to harvest deer in the area to do a check for TB. Deer can carry TB. So far, she reports, 47 white-tailed deer have been harvested in and around the index farm. None of the deer harvested so far showed clinical signs of TB upon harvest. However, she notes that blood and tissue samples are under testing. It can take 8 to 12 weeks to do a culture for TB in a laboratory.
The question many 4-H families have is whether there will be changes in rules for the 4-H and open-class exhibition season, already underway at some early open shows. Derrer responds simply that "Right now, we have not made any changes to exhibition testing requirements."