West Texas Dairy Herd Infected with TB

AUSTIN (AP) - Texas animal health officials today continued to investigate the source or possible spread of cattle tuberculosis found recently at an undisclosed West Texas dairy.

The Texas Animal Health Commission says milk from commercial dairies is pasteurized, killing bacteria with heat. That means there is no public health concern from the detection within the 2,600-head dairy.

Preliminary tests - skin and blood - indicated some of the animals are infected. Further testing on tissue cultures sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, will be used to confirm the bacteria's presence.  When one animal in a herd is found to be infected, the entire herd is deemed infected and all the animals will be killed.  Texas regained cattle TB-free status in fall 2006, after losing the coveted status in spring 2002.

The executive director of the commission that regulates Texas' livestock and poultry health says one herd will not affect the state's status. If a second herd is detected within 48 months, the state will again lose its TB-free status.

The state's most recent herd infection came in 2004.  California lost its TB-free status in September 2008, and Minnesota, Michigan and New Mexico are split states, meaning areas within those states have a different TB status.