WASHINGTON, April 2,
2008 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $16.8
million in emergency funding to continue efforts to eradicate bovine tuberculosis
in California, Michigan and Minnesota.
"Working cooperatively with state animal health agencies and U.S. livestock producers, we have made great strides towards eradicating tuberculosis from the nation's livestock population," said Bruce Knight, under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs. "We are another step closer towards eradicating bovine tuberculosis from our Nation, and this should serve as a reminder why the National Animal Identification System is so critical. By participating in NAIS, we protect our livestock and the future of American agriculture."
The emergency funding will be used to depopulate known tuberculosis-affected cattle herds, which is crucial to prevent the spread of the disease and to indemnify producers. The funding also will be used for enhanced surveillance not only to identify affected herds but also to determine the source of infection. This enhanced surveillance will include free ranging white-tailed deer in Minnesota and Michigan, a possible source of the disease.
While USDA and the States have robust surveillance and control measures in place for tuberculosis, outbreaks of the disease are costly to both producers and the government. Outbreaks also affect domestic animal movement and international trade. Programs such as USDA's voluntary National Animal Identification System-a modern animal disease response system that will enhance the country's animal disease tracing capabilities-provide an added opportunity to stop the spread of tuberculosis and minimize the impact of disease outbreaks on producers.
Bovine tuberculosis is a contagious and infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis. It affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats and other warm-blooded species and can be fatal. The disease can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected animals or consumption of raw milk. It is not transmitted through consumption of pasteurized milk.