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Canada finds bovine TB in British Columbia

Finding should not affect Canada's current international status in which all provinces are considered bovine TB-free.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced Nov. 19 it has launched an investigation into a case of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in British Columbia.

Bovine TB is a reportable disease in Canada and has been subject to a mandatory national eradication program since 1923, CFIA said. While Canada is considered to be officially free of bovine TB, isolated cases may occur. There is no risk to the food supply or to human health from this case, the agency said.

CFIA explained that on Oct. 26, a mature beef cow was presented for slaughter at a federally registered facility. Postmortem examination of the animal revealed the presence of suspect lesions. The carcass was condemned, and no portions of the animal entered the food chain, CFIA said.

Samples were shipped to CFIA's Ottawa Laboratory-Fallowfield, which, on Nov. 9, confirmed a case of bovine TB. The animal was traced to a farm in the southern interior of British Columbia.

CFIA is continuing to work closely with the producers, industry associations and provincial and federal agricultural and health authorities throughout the investigation.

CFIA said the finding should not affect Canada's current international status in which all provinces are considered bovine TB free. This status supports international trade for Canada's beef industry. Canada most recently had detected bovine TB in a single cow/calf herd in Alberta in September 2016.

For the current case, CFIA said it is in the very early stages of its investigation. It has begun tracing movements of the animal in the infected herd to try to identify the source and any potential spread of the disease. This involves identifying all herds that have come in contact with the infected animal during its life. CFIA has also begun testing to identify the strain of the bacterium as this may inform if there are connections to previous cases. As the investigation proceeds, CFIA will trace the movement of animals to and from the infected herd during the past five years to identify and eliminate the source and any potential spread of the disease.

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