Update: From the March 9, 2017 meeting held in Buffalo, S.D. with South Dakota State Veterinarian Dusty Oedekoven it was learned that 26 cattle have been confirmed with bovine tuberculosis in Harding County. The animals were tested from the main infected herd and confirmed through the Brookings, S.D. veterinary diagnostic lab.

Neighboring ranches remain under quarantine until their herds have successfully passed two tests for TB. Testing is underway for those herds and ranches will be released from quarantine as they are confirmed TB free.

Traceout herds and source herds are still being investigated at this time, which include ranch(s) in surrounding states. The South Dakota Game Fish & Parks is also aware of the TB situation and will hold a meeting to determine if surveying the local deer population for the disease is needed.

Due to the slow growing nature of the disease, the timeline for the cattle investigation is weeks and months vs days, according to Oedekoven. He says at this time there are still a lot of unknowns but he will update the Harding County ranching community regularly and he appreciates their cooperation. 

At this time, 14 ranches have been placed under quarantine as part of a cattle tuberculosis investigation the South Dakota Animal Industry Board is conducting.

The Animal Industry Board (AIB) announced on March 2 that tuberculosis had been found in cattle originating in Harding County, which is located in the northwest corner of the state bordering North Dakota and Montana.

According to State Veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven with AIB, the cattle were found through routine inspection at slaughter time. The animals appeared healthy but inspection, herd tests and lab work has revealed a positive confirmation and additional infected animals.

The ranch, along with about 14 neighboring ranches, has been placed on quarantine until testing can be completed on the herds. Any ranchers that were preparing to sell cattle of any type – cull cows to feeder calves – will now put those plans on hold.

Additionally, Oedekoven said in an interview on Monday, March 6 with The Cattle Business Weekly, “Herds that have sold animals into the affected herd, or purchased animals from the affected herd will also be quarantined for further investigation.”

 Oedekoven says he has notified state vets in Montana, North Dakota and Nebraska that animals from the affected herd have potentially moved from South Dakota to those states. “I’m unaware if herds in other states have been quarantined,” he says.

Bovine TB is a chronic respiratory disease of cattle that does not spread easily.  Infected animals may be capable of transmitting an infection to other animals even if they appear healthy.  South Dakota has officially been recognized as free of the disease since 1982, although the last affected herd was identified in November, 2011.

What does it take for a state like South Dakota to lose TB-free status? 

“In recent years, USDA has generally continued to recognize an Accredited TB Free State so long as the investigation of the affected herd and associated herds is progressing in a timely and thorough manner,” Oedekoven says.  “Multiple infected herds or evidence that the disease is spreading could potentially trigger a downgrade in status.”

An informational meeting has been planned for March 9 in Buffalo, S.D. in the Harding County School Gym at 7 p.m. Dr. Oedekoven will be giving information on the bovine TB case at that time. Producers in the affected area are encouraged to attend.