Skip Navigation
Department of Agriculture and Rural Home
close print view

Bovine TB traced to Saginaw County Dairy Cow; Laboratory tests indicate Michigan strain

Contact: Bridget Patrick 517-241-2669
Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

March 21, 2013

Lansing - The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa has confirmed bovine Tuberculosis (TB) in the lymph nodes of a Saginaw County dairy cow identified during slaughter surveillance. The strain of bovine TB is unique to Michigan deer and cattle.

"Slaughter surveillance is an important part of the food safety net. USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service is charged with removing anything that looks suspicious from the food system," said Kevin Besey, MDARD's Food and Dairy Division Director. "Although pasteurization kills the bacteria and is an important component of public health, MDARD will not permit milk from reactor animals to be sold for human or animal consumption."

"In accordance with our bovine TB response plan, the farm has been quarantined and a whole-herd test conducted," said Dr. Steven Halstead, MDARD's state veterinarian. "Some animals responding to the on-farm test have been necropsied at Michigan State University's Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health.  Samples collected at necropsy are undergoing further diagnostic tests to confirm TB and these tests may take days to weeks. Since Saginaw County is in a bovine TB Free area, we are moving quickly to stamp out and contain the disease at this one location."

MDARD does not expect this one animal to affect Michigan's TB Free status in this area.  Epidemiologists will be conducting a farm visit to look at everything from farm bio-security measures, potential wildlife incursions including feral swine, animal husbandry practices and purchase and sale records.

"As a partner to MDARD, DCPAH is here to help protect public and animal health in Michigan. Helping to address these types of disease incidents is core to our mission," said Carole Bolin, Director, Michigan State University (MSU) Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health (DCPAH) "Our ability to perform testing quickly and reliably plays a key role in getting information back to all the stakeholders without delay. We know this is a difficult situation for producers to be in, and we are dedicated to getting answers to them as quickly as possible."

Bovine TB affects all mammals, with cattle being especially sensitive. In 1994 a bovine TB positive white-tailed deer was harvested by a hunter in Alpena County. In 1998, USDA, MSU, the Michigan Department of Community Health, MDARD and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources created an interagency project to address eradicating bovine TB by surveillance testing 1.3 million domestic animals, testing hunter harvested deer, establishing cattle and bison testing zones, assisting with disease risk mitigation practices, depopulating some beef and dairy cattle farms and removing test positive animals from herds on other farms.

In 2000, the entire state of Michigan lost TB free status and Michigan has methodically taken steps to block transmission of the disease which is now only endemic in a small four-county area of Northeastern Lower Michigan.  The Modified Accredited Zone (MAZ), where the disease still occurs, is Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties.  The Saginaw County border is approximately 115 miles and has three counties between it and the MAZ. 

To receive information regarding disease outbreaks, or regulatory changes that impact your livestock, please join our Animal Health Listserv by visiting



Twitter: @MichDeptofAg



Related Content
 •  MDARD's Pollyanne McKillop Receives "Friends of Animal Control" Award
 •  MI Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development Honors Its Outstanding Employees For 2014
 •  Agriculture Commission and MI Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development Seeking Public Input on Agricultural Management Practices
 •  Gov. Rick Snyder recognizes 2,500 MAEAP farm verification milestone
 •  Gov. Rick Snyder says economic impact of food, agriculture industry surpasses $100 billion goal
 •  Consumer Advisory: Serrano peppers distributed in MI potentially contaminated with Salmonella
 •  Michigan Awarded $807,000 to Help Protect Western Lake Erie Basin
 •  Michigan Animal Welfare Fund Calls for Grant Proposals
 •  MDARD Director: 95 percent of Michigan Counties are Now Bovine TB Free
 •  MDARD Consumer Advisory: Antifreeze/coolant products under the Petro Zone Smart, Petro Zone, and Ice Shield XXX Brands may damage your vehicles
 •  Director Jamie Clover Adams Inducted Into the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society
 •  Specialty Crop Grants to Boost Michigan's Growing Food and Agriculture Industry
 •  2014 Vintage Report – Michigan Michigan Vintners Prepare for Short Crop
 •  Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Announces Grant Opportunities for County Fairs
 •  MI Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development Seeks Food Safety Education and Training Grant Proposals
 •  Dry Bean Stocks Report
 •  EEE Confirmed in Three Horses and Two Emus
 •  VernDale Products, Inc. Celebrates Ribbon Cutting at New Detroit Plant
 •  Strategic Growth Initiative Grant Program to Boost Michigan's Growing Food and Agriculture Industry
 •  State Seeks Public Comment: Seven more counties to be Bovine TB Free
QR code Home
PoliciesMichigan Survey

Copyright © 2014 State of Michigan