Newaygo-area steer tests positive for TB; farms within 3 miles must test animals

NEWAYGO COUNTY, MICH. - A three-mile surveillance area surrounds a Newaygo County farm after officials discovered a steer testing positive for bovine tuberculosis.

That 2-year-old animal since has been removed from the farm and sent to be slaughtered, according to a Michigan Department of Agriculture news release. It was identified using its electronic radio frequency tag as part of an inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service.

The farm was not identified.

Officials say testing of the bovine TB is similar to bovine TB found in cattle and free-ranging, white-tailed deer in northeast lower Michigan.

It's likely the infected steer was exposed to animals from that region.

"Every time a bovine TB-positive animal is identified, we work to find where the animal has been and where the bovine TB came from,” said Rick Smith, DVM, assistant state veterinarian, in the release. “Using whole genome sequencing, we can be certain that this is not a different outbreak of bovine TB infection in another region of the state."

Bovine TB affects less than 2 percent of human TB cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF).

Newaygo County farms within the three-mile radius have six months to complete bovine TB testing of its own animals -- they will be notified by letter, the release states.

A meeting is slated for 7 p.m. Monday, March 27, at the Grant Community Center on 105 S. Front St. to discuss the case.

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