Update on Bovine TB Infected Herds in Presque Isle and Emmet Counties

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For Immediate Release: July 22, 2019
Media contact: Megan Sprague, 517-284-5661

DeerLANSING – On May 1, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that, during routine bovine tuberculosis surveillance testing, an infected cattle herd was identified in Presque Isle County. As a result of movement investigations from the infected herd, MDARD quickly located an additional bovine TB infected animal that had been sold from the Presque Isle County herd to a herd in Emmet County. The Emmet County herd was designated as infected on May 17.

Investigations into these herds utilized whole genome sequencing, a specific test that can identify the DNA of TB bacteria. The DNA results supported the evidence that the bovine TB found in both herds was similar to bovine TB in infected deer found in Presque Isle County in 2014 and 2015. It also verified a direct link between the type of bovine TB found in both Emmet and Presque County herds, confirming that the Emmet County animal was infected while in the Presque Isle County herd.

All the remaining animals from the herd in Presque Isle County have been removed. The only animal found to be infected in the Emmet County herd was the one moved from the Presque Isle herd. The infected animal was removed from the Emmet County herd, which is under quarantine and will continue to undergo testing to confirm that the remainder of the herd is negative for bovine TB.

“Because the Presque Isle County herd was assembled recently from herds that are no longer in business, it is not possible to determine the specific time and location when the bovine TB infected deer made contact with the cattle,” said Michigan’s Assistant State Veterinarian Nancy Barr, DVM. “However, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will work with cattle producers in the vicinity of the affected herd and the previous source herds to test their cattle.”

Through its surveillance program, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has typically found one to two bovine TB infected deer every year in Presque Isle County.

“Presque Isle falls within the DNR’s Deer Management Unit 487, a multi-county DMU created to address bovine tuberculosis in the Northern Lower Peninsula Region. Since bovine TB can become more prevalent with higher deer densities, we encourage hunters to get out in the woods this fall and keep hunting. Increased harvest can help us fight bovine TB, and deer head submission by successful hunters is critical to detect any changes in the occurrence of the disease,” said Kelly Straka, DNR State Wildlife Veterinarian. “Locations and hours for checking deer can be found at Michigan.gov/DeerCheck.”

TB testing will be conducted in cattle herds in portions of Presque Isle, Cheboygan, and Emmet counties in response to finding these herds. Herd owners who are required to test in these counties will receive a letter from MDARD with instructions on test scheduling. Additionally, informational meetings to discuss testing in cattle herds will be held on the following dates:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.
Presque Isle District Library Community Meeting Room
181 East Erie St., Rogers City, MI 49779

Tuesday, August 13, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.
Allis Township Hall
(NW corner of the intersection of Glasser Rd. and 638 Hwy.)
20018 W 638 Hwy., Onaway, MI 49765

Wednesday, August 14, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.
Friendship Township Hall
(SW corner of the intersection of Stutsmanville Rd. and Beacon Hill Ln.)
3018 S. Beacon Hill Ln., Harbor Springs, MI 49740

“Bovine TB is a serious disease to humans and animals and finding bovine TB in cattle in an area that has been designated TB free is concerning,” said Michigan’s Assistant State Veterinarian Nancy Barr, DVM.  “Preventing the spread of bovine TB from infected free-ranging white-tailed deer to cattle herds is a top priority. Cattle owners in these areas must actively work to protect their herds daily.

“Cattle producers can protect their herds by ensuring stored feeds cannot be accessed by deer, feeding and watering sites are located in areas away from deer activity, fruit and nut trees are removed from in and around cattle areas, and by using Disease Control Permits from the DNR to remove deer that use their farm as their food source and are a disease threat to the cattle.”

If you are in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Presque Isle counties and have any questions about how to protect your farm from contact with deer, contact MDARD’s Atlanta Office at 888-565-8626.

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