Suspected Bovine TB in Dairy Cow

<p>Dairy Cow</p>

Dairy Cow

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is investigating a case of possible bovine tuberculosis in a dairy cow following test results provided to the agency on Wednesday.

The cow had been sent to a Cowlitz County facility for slaughter, but the meat was held after a food safety inspector identified a problem and submitted samples for testing.

State health officials say there’s no immediate human health concern because the meat from the infected cow was isolated until the test results came back.  It will not enter food channels, and has been destroyed. Pasteurization kills bacteria, including bovine TB.

The State DOH recommends against drinking raw milk because of potential health risks. The investigation is ongoing.

WSDA’s preliminary investigation indicates the cow was culled from a Grant County dairy herd and transported for slaughter on January 8. An inspector with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service noticed a suspicious lesion and sent a sample to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory  in Iowa. On Jan. 16, the lab reported that the sample was consistent with bovine TB.

Bovine TB is contagious among cattle and can cause severe coughing, fatigue and emaciation.

The WSDA has issued an order preventing the dairy from moving any of its cows and directing that all milk produced there be pasteurized.

Meanwhile, inspectors with the WSDA Food Safety and Animal Services divisions are working with USDA investigators on tracing the disease.

Washington cattle have been TB-free since 1988.