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MDA presents updated TB testing plan in Disease Free Zone
Public encouraged to comment; Informational meeting to be held Sept. 10 in Lansing
Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) officials have proposed an updated scientifically-based bovine TB surveillance plan for livestock in Michigan's Disease Free Zone. Specifically, the plan establishes a random herd selection TB testing program and relieves the burden of individual testing for farmers moving animals in the disease free areas, as long as herds have undergone one whole herd test before movement.
MDA will establish the new surveillance plan after the 30-day public comment period, which started with a presentation to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2002 and ends Saturday, Sept. 14, 2002. Additionally, MDA will present an overview of the plan and take public comment on Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Forum Room of the Michigan Library and Historical Center, located at 717 W. Allegan St. in downtown Lansing. The proposed changes for the Disease Free Zone can be viewed online at www.bovinetb.com.
The Disease Free Zone includes all counties in Michigan except: Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Montmorency and Presque Isle. Emmet County remains a High Risk county for a three-year period and will be required to undergo annual whole herd tests.
"The plan does not change TB testing requirements in the infected and surveillance zones nor does it alleviate the requirements that other states may impose," said Dr Larry Granger, MDA Bovine TB Unit Coordinator. "And producers throughout the state must still have at least one whole herd test by the end of 2003."
"MDA welcomes comments from industry representatives, individual producers, and U.S. Department of Agriculture staff as well as other states," said Dr. Joan Arnoldi, State Veterinarian and MDA Animal Industry Division Director.
"This plan, developed by some of the best minds in veterinary and epidemiological medicine, will randomly select 1,800 herds in the disease free area and test them over a two-year period," Arnoldi said. "In other words, every two years another 1,800 herds will be chosen and tested to ensure that the state will find the disease if it exists. The proposed plan will be evaluated after a six year period and adjusted as necessary."
Producers who are selected will be required to have a whole herd TB test conducted on their livestock and fill out a survey noting herd size and location, all animal movement, management practices, and proximity of the herd to bovine TB infected wildlife.
Public comments on the proposed surveillance plan may be sent to Dr. Granger at Animal Industry Division, Michigan Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 30017 Lansing, MI 48909, by fax to 517-373-6015, or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new surveillance plan will build upon and refine the state's aggressive TB eradication efforts already in place, said Bovine TB Eradication Project Coordinator Bob Bender.
The Bovine TB Eradication Project is a multi-agency team of experts from the Michigan Departments of Agriculture, Community Health, and Natural Resources, Michigan State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Since TB Eradication efforts began, MDA has tested nearly 800,000 bison, cattle, goats and privately owned cervids, with 25 cattle herds and one privately owned cervid herd testing positive for the disease. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has tested over 88,000 wild white-tailed deer, with 398 testing positive for bovine TB. Two elk and 36 carnivores/omnivores have also tested positive.
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