A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 23 Jun 2009
Source: Bemidji Pioneer [edited]
The discovery of a whitetail deer with bovine tuberculosis [TB] in
northwest Beltrami County doesn't concern state agriculture
officials. "It was kind of expected, and is the reason why we need to
continue monitoring to be sure there's not something out there,"
Robin Kinney, Minnesota assistant agriculture commissioner, said in a
The TB-positive deer was a 6-year-old male, and showed clinical signs
of bovine TB, which later was confirmed by laboratory analysis. No
other deer removed this winter [2008-09] showed similar signs of
infection. "We fully expected that the deer population was carrying
some of this, so to find one is a good sign," Kinney said.
The older deer makes state officials believe that bovine TB among
deer may be confined to a certain age class, since the infected deer
found since testing began in 2005 have been born in 2005 or earlier.
"It was an older deer that was found," Kinney said. "That's great,
and it means that we need to continue that diligence to seek it out.
I don't expect we're going to have any problems, but that's why we're
staying on high alert on it."
Last year , the US Department of Agriculture allowed Minnesota a
split-state status, meaning that outside a bovine TB management area
in northwest Beltrami County and Roseau County, the state remains TB-free.
Cattle sold within the bovine TB management area must undergo strict
testing regimes before being sold or transported across state lines.
Cattle are believed to contract bovine TB from infected free-ranging
deer, so the DNR [Department of Natural Resources] has been working
with USDA sharpshooters during the winter to cull the deer herd in that area.
The DNR has also conducted surveillance for TB in hunter-harvested
deer within a 15-mile [24 km] radius of the once-infected farms every
fall since 2005. To date, more than 6000 deer taken by hunters and
sharp-shooters have been tested.
"The older ages of infected deer, the lack of infection in younger
deer, and the close proximity of infected deer suggest the disease is
not efficiently spreading in the deer population," Michelle
Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program coordinator, said last month
DNR sampled 1246 deer taken in the bovine TB surveillance zone during
the fall 2008 hunt. Spring sharp-shooting efforts, that began in
March and concluded 30 Apr , have resulted in an additional 738
deer being removed near previously infected cattle operations inside
the management zone.
DNR will continue monitoring for the disease through sampling of
hunter-harvested deer, Carstensen said. Hunter-harvested surveillance
will be conducted within the larger bovine TB surveillance zone in
fall 2009, with a sampling goal of 1800 deer. Surveillance will
continue every year until no positive animals are detected for 5
consecutive years, she said.
The 2008 Legislature, led by Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, put in
place the bovine TB management zone and provided buyouts of herds
that may be infected and ordered fencing around remaining herds to
keep out deer.
The Agriculture Department's bovine TB czar is Joe Martin, appointed
by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. "He's done just a great job shepherding this
through and being sure that producers are being taken care of," said
Kinney. "Funding-wise, we've had a great partnership, especially with
the legislative folks up here. They understand the issue, they've
been working very closely hand-in-hand with Joe and the DNR to be
sure we've got that balance."
"This should not delay Minnesota's goal of regaining TB-Free Status,"
Martin said last month [May 2009] of the new deer discovery. "We have
been in contact with USDA and they have assured us this finding in
the deer will not impact cattle movements or the state's TB status."
The state's status is only impacted by finding additional TB-positive
cattle herds. The last known infected herd was depopulated earlier
this year  as part of the state's buyout program. There are no
other active cattle investigations ongoing at this time, Martin said.
The buyout of herds is complete, Kinney said. "Money-wise this coming
year it's going to be continuing to provide some education and
management opportunities for as long as these folks are going to need
to be out, be sure that we're monitoring that deer population so that
we can get the status back as quickly as we can."
The issue continues to be a priority of the Minnesota Farm Bureau
Federation, which lobbied last year  for the special management
zone and funding for cattle buyouts. "Bovine TB is still a priority
for us in Farm Bureau," Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap
said in a recent interview. "We need to do everything and anything we
can to eradicate that, both in the cattle and the deer herds. So
we'll watch that very closely."
Minnesota state agencies and USDA have entered into a productive
partnership in an effort to eradicate bovine TB, Kinney said. "We
have a very good partnership, and I have say that's to the fact that
Commissioner (Gene) Hugoson has served so long in a leadership role,"
she said. "That consistency has been extremely important, not only
for Minnesota but for APHIS and the other divisions. He is recognized
nationally as a leader and has great insight." USDA's Animal and
Public Health Information System establishes threat levels for animal
diseases, and determines levels of bovine TB classifications.
Kinney also credited US House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson,
DFL-7th District, in whose district the bovine TB management zone
lies. "He just does a tremendous job as an advocate for agriculture,
and his role as chairman of the House Ag Committee certainly helped
Minnesota come forward," Kinney said. "We've got great dialogue with him."
[Byline: Brad Swenson]
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Susan Baekeland
[Minnesota has had a long battle with tuberculosis, both in bovines
and in cervids. They have made gallant strides in getting this
disease under control. Their surveillance here is a minor triumph in
being able to predict what the age of expected animals with the
disease. - Mod.TG]
[The Midwestern state of Minnesota can be located on the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at
Beltrami County can be seen on the map at
Bovine tuberculosis - USA (06) (NE) (02) 20090620.2270
Bovine tuberculosis - USA (05): (NE) 20090613.2198
Bovine tuberculosis - USA (04): (TX) conf. 20090613.2195
Bovine tuberculosis - USA (03): (NE) cattle, elk 20090603.2060
Bovine tuberculosis - USA (02): (ND) 20090514.1811
Bovine tuberculosis - UK (03): increased incidence 20090514.1809
Bovine tuberculosis - USA: (TX), susp 20090423.1536
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (08): (MN) 20081207.3839
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (04): (MN) status downgrade 20080408.1296
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (03): (MN) 20080222.0718
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (02): (MN) 20080205.0472
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA: (MN) 20080123.0285
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA: (MN) 20071029.3509
Tuberculosis, bovine, cervids - USA (MN) (03)20061101.3131
Tuberculosis, bovine, cervid - USA (MN) (02) 20060131.0310
Tuberculosis, bovine, cervid - USA (MN) 20060123.0225
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (MN)(02) 20051211.3564
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (MN)with comment 20050716.2034
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (MN)20050716.2030]