Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials confirmed bovine tuberculosis (TB) in one dairy located in Sherman County in the Texas Panhandle. As a part of the ongoing epidemiological investigation, TAHC confirmed bovine TB in an associated calf-raising operation in Dallam County, Texas.
The bovine TB-affected facilities are under quarantine or hold and will remain so until they meet all requirements for release through testing and removal of infected animals, TAHC said. The epidemiological investigations of both facilities continues. Dairy, calf-raising and dairy heifer-raising operations in Texas and other states with epidemiological links to the infected herd will continue to be tested to determine the possible origin or potential spread of the disease.
“TAHC is working closely with the dairy involved, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Texas dairy industry and other states to ensure the disease is quickly contained and the affected dairies can return to normal business practices as soon as possible,” Texas state veterinarian Dr. Andy Schwartz said. “Texas’s current TB-free status is not expected to be affected by the new cases.”
Bovine TB is a chronic, debilitating respiratory disease whose symptoms can include progressive weight loss, chronic cough and general loss of condition. Like many other diseases, bovine TB transmission is facilitated when animals are concentrated or held in close confinement, TAHC said. Infected animals normally spread TB bacteria to their herdmates by expelling infective droplets into the air that are inhaled or may contaminate feed.
A variety of other species are susceptible to TB, including elk, deer, bison, goats, swine, cats and people. Sheep and horses are rarely affected. Although TB can affect people, pasteurization of milk removes any risk of transmission, and meat from infected animals does not enter the food chain.
In 2000, Texas earned USDA TB accredited-free status. In 2002, however, that status was temporarily revoked when two infected cattle herds were detected. After extensive testing, Texas regained its TB-free status from USDA in October 2006.