Bovine TB testing continues for some Lake, Osceola cow herds

LAKE AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES — State officials continue testing a number of cattle herds in Lake and Osceola counties for bovine tuberculosis after a Lake County cow tested positive for the potentially deadly bacteria in December 2016.

According to a spokesman with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the ongoing testing of herds began in July and will continue through much of October.

“The herd that was impacted, where the cow tested positive, was depopulated,” said Jessy Sielski, MDARD’s deputy public information officer. “There’s been no additional cases, as officials work through testing the remaining herds.”

MDARD announced the positive bovine TB test in April, having traced the origin of the cow to an infected herd in Franklin County, Ind. That herd was depopulated.

According to the World Health Organization, bovine TB can jump the species barrier and cause tuberculosis in humans and other mammals.

At a public information meeting in May, Rick W. Smith, bovine TB eradication program coordinator, explained livestock owners within a three-mile radius of the infected cow were going to need have the testing done.

The three-mile testing circle is the smallest bovine TB testing area determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Smith explained.

“We’re doing this out of an abundance of caution,” he said at the time. “We don’t expect to find anything more.”

In the testing area, Sielski said a total of 44 herds need to be tested.

“They’ve completed 12 so far,” he said.

Sielski said they have had to work with livestock owners, who have been busy attending fairs and other events with other animals.

“They are trying to get the herds gathered so they can be tested,” he said.

Sielski said the department has no concern and expect to complete the testing by Oct. 26.

“They are working through the rest of the herds and get that completed in time,” he said.

Osceola County Michigan State University Extension Grazing and Crop Management Educator Jerry Lindquist said it’s a positive sign there haven’t been any additional positive tests.

“No news is good news, at least when it comes to the local TB testing,” he said.