By Casey Peacock: PNT staff writer
Representatives from the New Mexico Livestock Board and U.S. departments of Agriculture and Veterinary Services will host an informational meeting on cattle tuberculosis testing in Roosevelt and Curry counties today at the Memorial Building.
Since 2003, area dairy and cattle producers have been required by the federal government to test any animals for TB that are being shipped out of area. The testing went into effect after infected cattle were found at two local dairies in 2003.
Dr. Gaven Kuykendall, veterinarian medical officer for the USDA, said TB testing is time consuming and costs producers.
He said from October 2005 to October 2006 close to 22,000 head of cattle were tested.
“It (the meeting) will be an opportunity to get everyone up to date about what is going on,” Kuykendall said.
Roosevelt County and a small part of Curry County are part of a Modified Accredited Advance Zone set up in 2005, which is the stage below being a TB free zone, Kuykendall said.
Roosevelt and Curry are the only New Mexico counties with TB restrictions.
“The zone was formed in an effort to release the rest of the state from TB status, Kuykendall said.
State Veterinarian Dr. Dave Fly said tests have shown the area to TB free.
Bovine Tuberculosis is a contagious and infectious disease that affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats and other warm-blooded species, including humans. Tuberculosis in affected animals and humans manifests itself in lesions of the lung, lymph nodes and bone. It causes weight loss, general debilitation and can be fatal.
According to Kuykendall, TB can be in the animal when it is young. In certain cases, signs of the disease will not show until the animal is older, he said.
“A person has to be in heavy daily contact with the animal to contract the disease,” Kuykendall said.