Update on bovine tuberculosis investigation in British Columbia

Statement from Canada's Chief Veterinary Officer

January 9, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Food Inspection Agency

As part of its commitment to openness and transparency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to providing regular updates on its investigation into bovine tuberculosis (bovine TB).

The investigation is being conducted jointly with the Province of British Columbia. The CFIA and the Province have had strong collaboration with producers, industry associations, and others involved in the investigation. The majority of the animals from the infected herd in the Southern Interior of British Columbia have been tested.

To date, a total of four confirmed cases of bovine TB have been found in one herd in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, including the cow that was confirmed to have the disease when it was slaughtered in October 2018. These animals did not enter the food chain and pose no risk to the food supply or to human health. As testing of the index herd continues, additional cases may be detected.

Trace-out activities are progressing as expected. Animals from the infected herd have been traced to parts of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and movement controls have been placed on approximately 18,000 animals, which includes 25 premises. The number of movement controls will fluctuate as the investigation progresses, with controls being added as new trace-out locations are identified and lifted when animals test negative for the disease.

The CFIA’s Ottawa Laboratory—Fallowfield has completed culture testing of the tissue samples collected from the original infected animal. Test results of the infected herd have identified the strain of bovine TB to be distinct from any cases previously detected in Canadian wildlife or domestic livestock. This strain is not related to past cases of bovine TB in Alberta or British Columbia or anywhere else in Canada.

Next steps

The next steps of the investigation will include trace-in activities to identify the previous movements of animals that entered the infected herd over the past five years. As a result, the number of herds under movement controls will continue to fluctuate. These numbers will be posted regularly on our website. The CFIA will also continue its trace-out activities in the coming months.

Disease investigations like this one require a great deal of cooperation and collaboration.

The CFIA would like to thank the affected producers and industry associations, as well as the federal and provincial departments who have cooperated greatly in the investigation so far. Our common goal is to protect human health, protect the health of Canadian livestock and, in the process, maintain market access.

We will continue to update information related to this investigation.

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