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British Columbia bovine TB investigation reveals novel strain

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Investigation started in early November now includes 25 premises in three provinces.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provided an update Jan. 9 on its investigation into bovine tuberculosis (TB) in British Columbia, originally confirmed Nov. 9.

CFIA chief veterinary officer Dr. Jaspinder Komal said the majority of the infected herd in British Columbia's southern interior has been tested, and to date, four confirmed cases of bovine TB have been found in that herd.

CFIA said trace-out activities are progressing as expected, with cattle from the infected herd being traced to parts of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The agency said movement controls have been placed on approximately 18,000 animals to date, which includes 25 premises.

CFIA’s Ottawa Laboratory-Fallowfield in Ontario has completed culture testing of the tissue samples collected from the original infected animal.

The test results have identified the strain of bovine TB to be distinct from any cases previously detected in Canadian wildlife or domestic livestock, Komal said, noting that this strain is not related to past cases of bovine TB in Alberta or British Columbia or anywhere else in Canada.

Canadian media reported that, in response to a question, Komal noted that preliminary knowledge suggests that the strain has not been found in the U.S. either.

Komal said the investigation will now include trace-in activities to identify the previous movements of animals that entered the infected herd over the past five years. CFIA will also continue its trace-out activities in the coming months.

Disease investigations like this one require a great deal of cooperation and collaboration, CFIA said, thanking the affected producers and industry associations as well as the federal and provincial departments that have cooperated in the investigation so far.

Further updates on the bovine TB investigation in Canada are available at this link.

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