The investigation into the bovine tuberculosis finding in western South Dakota continues and it will continue for several more months.
The South Dakota Animal Industry Board released an update on March 31 regarding the progress and findings of the investigation, which began in February after three beef cows were indentified at two Nebraska slaughter plants.
The original affected herd has under gone testing and numerous cattle have tested positive for TB. While some have tested negative it has been decided to depopulate the whole herd. Test negative animals will now be sent to inspected slaughter as the preferred method of herd depopulation. USDA APHIS has agreed to indemnify the herd owner at full market value for the cattle.
Neighboring ranches and trace out herds in South Dakota and other states will continue. As of now eight of the 13 adjacent ranches have been released from quarantine. TB has been confirmed in one cow that previously resided in the index herd, but has since been part of an adjacent herd for approximately 2 years. Additional investigation into the status of this herd continues. Total cattle tested in South Dakota is just over 7,500.
On March 27, the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks began collecting samples on the wildlife population as well with three days of ground and aerial removal and retrieval of targeted animals.
In total, 55 white-tailed deer, 56 mule deer, and 42 pronghorn were removed. Nine raccoons were trapped and collected. Thirty-seven coyotes were removed and retrieved via fixed-winged airplane. Samples were collected and submitted for testing from all wildlife removed. Once test results are received all deer and pronghorn meat that does not test positive for TB will be distributed to community food banks.