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Cattle test positive for bovine TB in Alcona County

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

A herd of bovine in Michigan's Lower Peninsula tested positive for tuberculosis state officials said Thursday.

State veterinarian Nora Wineland said the bovine TB was found in a medium-size beef herd in Alcona County, located in Michigan's Modified Accredited Zone, which also includes Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Monday a case of bovine tuberculosis recently was confirmed in a medium-sized beef cattle herd in Oscoda County.

"The animals were confirmed positive for bovine TB by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories on Jan. 13," Wineland said. "As in all new findings of infected cattle herds, additional testing will be done to identify the specific bacterial strain, and trace testing will begin in order to identify any potential additional cases associated with the affected herd."

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. It is present in the free-ranging white-tailed deer population in a specific area of northeastern lower Michigan and can be transmitted from the deer to cattle, according to the state. 

Michigan has been working to eradicate bovine TB in cattle since 1998, when a cattle herd was found positive in Alpena County. The Alcona County herd is Michigan’s 77th cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB, state officials said.

In the U.S. today, the threat of humans contracting bovine TB from animals is extremely remote. Health officials have confidence in the state's meat and milk supply, officials said.