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TB Tests For Cattle Moving From Minnesota To Dakota

28 September 2010

US - North Dakota is not changing its import testing requirements for cattle coming from Minnesota even if USDA-APHIS grants TB-free status to most of that state and an upgraded status to a section of northwestern Minnesota.

However, at its regular meeting last week in Bismarck, N.D., North Dakota Animal Health Board members agreed to revisit the issue in December.

Minnesota currently has a split-state status with the majority of the state being Modified Accredited Advanced (MAA). MAA status is one level below a state being TB-free.

A section of northwestern Minnesota is still Modified Accredited (MA), one level below MAA, which requires herds to be subject to more stringent shipping and testing restrictions.

Minnesota applied in March to USDA-APHIS for a TB-free status for the entire state and to upgrade the northwestern section to MAA based on new federal orders and the additional negative testing they have had, said Melissa Fritz, communications director for the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

The new federal orders, issued this spring, said there would be no more automatic downgrading while the USDA works on permanent TB and brucellosis orders.

Under the new federal orders, USDA will look at downgrading a state’s TB status based on the risk of disease transmission, taking into consideration the state’s efforts to eradicate the disease and conduct surveillance testing.

In June, North Dakota Board of Animal Health members approved allowing beef cattle, goats, and camelids coming from Minnesota’s MAA zone to be imported without first being TB-tested.

Susan Keller, North Dakota state veterinarian, said the board made its decision based on current science and on Minnesota’s surveillance and management actions taken to minimize the risk of spreading TB.

Requirements for animals from the MA zone in northwestern Minnesota remained the same. Dairy and rodeo animals, however, still need a TB test, which is a requirement North Dakota has in place for all states.

Additional testing requirements were also dropped at the same time for Montana and brucellosis testing due to that state’s responses to the disease in the Greater Yellowstone Area, the board said.

Fritz sent Keller an email on Sept. 9, 2010, from Minnesota’s state veterinarian Bill Hartmann asking her what North Dakota plans to do when USDA approves Minnesota’s upgrade in status.

Fritz said they hope to be able to publicize the approval as soon as it happens and let the market know what area states are requiring of them.

In a phone interview, Fritz said they may be receiving positive notice of TB-free status in October.

“We’re hearing everything is looking good with the application and sounding very positive for approval,” Fritz said.

She said Minnesota has worked aggressively to step up testing and do everything they can to become TB-free. She said a recent surveillance hunt in the MA zone in Minnesota did not yield any positive deer and there has been no TB-positives found in bovine for 18 months.

However, the board did hear that there has not been a full year without at least one TB-positive deer found in the MA zone.

After the North Dakota Board of Animal Health read the letter they made the determination to keep requirements as they currently are and revisit the issue in the winter.



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