Bovine TB confirmed in Eddy County

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

A confirmed case of bovine tuberculosis has been reported in Eddy County, according to officials from the New Mexico Livestock Board.

An investigation is being conducted by the New Mexico Livestock Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to state veterinarian Dave Fly.
The infected dairy cow was discovered during routine testing, known as slaughter surveillance, which is conducted at all state and federally inspected plants in the United States, Fly said.

“We are doing everything we can to minimize the impact on our livestock industry in New Mexico,” Fly said.

There is also a beef herd under surveillance in northeastern New Mexico for possible exposure to TB, Fly said.

Quay County producer and former New Mexico Cattle Growers Association President Phil H. Bidegain feels the news will have an impact because of the costs incurred for testing of the livestock, he said.

“I’m not sure it will affect the beef market, but it will affect producers,” Bidegain said.

Officials and beef and dairy producers are concerned about the outcome concerning the new developments of TB. An outbreak could potentially cost producers an estimated $3 million for testing, Fly said.

According to New Mexico State University Extension Dairy Specialist Robert Hagevoort, steps by qualified personnel will be taken to prevent the spread of the disease, he said.

“We brush with it all the time. We need to make sure we do what is correct before panic sets in and the alarm bells ring,” Hagevoort said.

Currently the TB zone that is in portions of Roosevelt and Curry counties remain under TB free status. A small portion of the zone is under heightened oversight know as advanced accreditation status from the previous outbreak, Fly said. Cattle within that zone are subject to testing before they can be shipped outside the zone.

“We are working diligently to prevent a status change,” Fly said.

At a low level in the United States, the last case of TB was reported more than two years ago in New Mexico. A management plan has been put into place and is being followed according to established rules in the Code of Federal Regulations, Fly said.

“All appropriate measures have been taken to ensure there is no risk to public health or livestock,” Fly said.