TB detected in Beltrami County beef herd

By Heather Carlile

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health detected bovine tuberculosis last week in a Beltrami County beef heifer.

This will delay the state’s process of working toward regaining TB free status, which it hasn’t held since 2005.

"... Finding another positive herd will reset our timeline for regaining status, but for the sake of Minnesota’s cattle industry, we cannot leave a single infected herd undiscovered," said Bill Hartmann, Minnesota Board of Animal Health executive director and state veterinarian.


Minnesota currently holds Modified Accredited Advanced TB status, which is directly under TB-free status. This requires cattle producers to follow extra precautions during interstate travel of cattle.

The state is working to control the disease through the Minnesota Bovine Tuberculosis Management Plan, which has three components: tracing and testing animals bought or sold from an infected herd, testing herds within 10 miles of any infected herd, and a surveillance campaign that tests herds statewide.

Bovine TB is a slow-growing bacterial disease with a long incubation period so follow-up tests are often needed to find it. The recently diagnosed Beltrami heifer’s herd was undergoing follow-up testing a year after the herds’ results came back negative for TB.

So far, 1,188 cattle herds have been tested in the surveillance campaign since it began in September 2006. By the end of the year, the health board hopes to have this number up to 1,500.

A total of 17,000 herds have been tested in Minnesota.

According to Linda Glaser, head of the cattle programs division for the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and senior veterinarian, 20 cattle producers in northwestern Minnesota are required to restrict interaction between cattle and deer so the disease doesn’t spread. This includes conducting a risk assessment and fencing cattle feeding supplies.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to continue testing hunter-harvested white-tail deer in the northwestern corner of the state this fall. Since 2005, 13 deer out of 2,000 tested positive for the disease. All of these animals were in that region.

"It’s critical that hunters participate in this effort by voluntarily allowing their deer to be sampled," said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health programs coordinator.


The DNR last fall restricted deer and elk feeding within 15 miles of any cattle farm infected with bovine TB. Specific reference points have been established to create an identifiable boundary. Feeding is still prohibited.

Glaser said other states that are dealing with the disease include Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico.

For more information, call the Minnesota Board of Animal Health Bovine TB Hotline at 1-877-MN TB FREE (688-2373) or log on to

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