More widespread bangs outbreak stemmed, for now

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Sep 13, 2004
by WLJ
— Wyoming "free" status possible July 2005.
— South Dakota avoids added sanctions.
By Steven D. Vetter
WLJ Editor

Animal health officials in both Wyoming and South Dakota indicated that there have been no additional confirmed cases of bovine brucellosis, also known as bangs, since an early July announcement that two cows tested positive for the disease.
The two Wyoming-origin cows that tested positive for the disease were out of a 52-lot consignment that were sold through a South Dakota auction barn during the first week of July. The two bangs-infected animals were confirmed when taken to slaughter, and the remaining 51 lots, including 49 cow/calf pairs were then tracked to the people that bought them.
The 49 cow/calf pairs have all been tracked down to three South Dakota buyers, and the cows have been slaughtered with all the calves scheduled to be spayed or castrated, and then grown out as finishing cattle, according to Dr. Sam Holland, state veterinarian for South Dakota.
"All adult cows that were in that consignment have been slaughtered, and en route to slaughter they were all tested for the disease, and those results were all negative," Holland said. "Things were taken care of efficiently and expeditiously, and there is no chance any South Dakota cattle contracted the disease."
The lone open cow that was left in that sale consignment found its way back to a Wyoming buyer, and officials said the animal tested negative for the disease and was sent directly to slaughter.
Wyoming herds suspected of having contact with animals from the "index herd" where the infected animals originated from have been quarantined and all cattle from those herds have been tested once for the disease. According to Dr. Jim Logan, state veterinarian for Wyoming, approximately 2,300 head of cattle have been tested for the disease, and that all contact premises will be removed from the quarantine list when their cull cattle are tested for the disease again later this fall.
"We have to wait 90 days to conduct a second test, but when those cattle are tested and those results come back negative, all contact premises will be removed from quarantine," Logan said.
The index herd will be required to have all its cattle tested for the disease and those results must come back negative before it is considered free of the disease and no longer in quarantine.
The early July announcement marked the third instance of bangs being detected in Wyoming, with the first two coming very late last year, during the first month of 2004. The first two confirmed outbreaks of the disease were from around the Greater Yellowstone Area. However, this last announcement said the cattle were from a Jackson County ranch, which isn't considered in proximity of the GYA.
Logan said that the source of the disease, in all three instances, has yet to be tracked down, and that he isn't making any conclusions on its origins. He said that producers are starting to blame elk, which are known to carry and transmit the disease, however, that can't be considered the source.
"There is no real reason to point the finger at elk, as there have been no confirmed cases of the disease in elk that surround the infected herds," Logan said. "The Wyoming Fish & Game Department has said they will start testing some elk for the disease this fall, but until something comes out of that we are still looking for the source of the disease."
Wyoming has been removed from the list of states considered brucellosis free, but can reapply for that accreditation during the second week of July next year, if there are no other cases of the disease confirmed by then. Wyoming has joined Texas as a Class A brucellosis state.
Under Class A status, all eligible cattle and bison must test negative for brucellosis within 30 days prior to change of ownership and interstate movement. Eligible animals are those sexually intact vaccinated and non-vaccinated females and bulls 18 months of age and older. Animals going directly to a slaughter facility are exempt from the testing. — WLJ


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