Agriculture Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bruce Knight announced the availability of an additional $35 million in emergency funding Wednesday for the bovine tuberculosis eradication program. This is in addition to $2 million in emergency funding already available for tuberculosis control and eradication.
"This bovine TB funding will support enhanced surveillance efforts and indemnity for infected herds and brings the program significantly closer to eradication of the disease in New Mexico," Knight says. "This funding also will support our efforts to protect the health of the national herd and prevent disease spread."
A herd at an isolated dairy farm in Curry County, New Mexico tested positive for TB in June, and the emergency funding will allow for depopulation and indemnification of the infected herd. The USDA funding also will help support overall TB eradication efforts, which include surveillance, control and epidemiologic investigations. Currently all states are designated accredited-free for TB, except Minnesota and portions of Michigan and New Mexico.
Bovine TB is a contagious and infections disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis. It affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats and other warm-blooded species and can be fatal. The disease can only be transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected animals or consumption of raw milk. It is not transmitted through consumption of pasteurized milk. TB outbreaks can compromise international and domestic trade in U.S. animals and animal products.
While USDA and the States have robust surveillance and control measures in place for TB, in the last 5 years USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has identified 35 TB-affected herds. The disease results in significant economic costs to the government to eradicate the disease and to producers as a result of increased movement controls. The economic burden caused by animal disease outbreaks like this is one reason USDA is encouraging producers to register their premises with the National Animal Identification System.