Notification to Alberta and Saskatchewan Beef, Dairy and Feedlot Industry Groups

In late September, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notified the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that a case of Bovine TB had been detected in a cow from Alberta when it was slaughtered in the USA. The CFIA has initiated an investigation into the case and is working with its provincial agricultural and health authorities.

Bovine TB is a reportable disease in Canada and has been subject to a mandatory national eradication program since 1923. While Canada is considered to be officially free of Bovine TB today, isolated cases may occur. This finding does not affect Canada's current status with all provinces considered to be Bovine TB-free as per the criteria established in the Health of Animals Regulations.

In all cases where federally-reportable diseases are suspected or confirmed, the goal is to minimize disruptions to producers, while respecting Canada's domestic and international obligations to take appropriate and prudent control measures. These measures are critical for protecting the health of Canadian livestock and maintaining market access.

As a control measure, movement restrictions are placed on any implicated animals. Testing, humane destruction, and disposal is carried out as required.

The control measures are placed to restrict movement and identify animals that were exposed to the infected animal/herd(s). These controls will remain in place until a comprehensive science-based assessment is completed to determine animal health risk.

The CFIA completes a comprehensive investigation and testing of all at-risk livestock herds which are epidemiologically associated with the infected premises.

Animals under movement controls are only allowed to move directly to inspected slaughter facilities under a CFIA permit.

Bovine TB is a contagious disease caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium bovis. Animals usually acquire the disease by inhaling or ingesting the organism. While Bovine TB primarily affects ruminants (cattle, bison, elk, deer, goats, and sheep); it can affect all types of mammals, including humans.

Generally, findings of Bovine TB do not pose a threat to public health in Canada. This is due to the extremely low prevalence of the disease in Canada. However, individuals who have extended, close contact with an infected animal while it is alive are at risk of contracting the disease. Anyone who was in close contact with animals confirmed to have the disease is advised to contact their physician and/or local health authority.

Bovine TB affects a wide range of mammals including wildlife which, under certain circumstances, may transmit the disease to back to livestock. Although the CFIA does not have a program specifically designed to control disease in wildlife populations, the CFIA collaborates with other involved agencies (e.g. Provincial authorities, Parks Canada) to conduct wildlife surveillance in the vicinity of an infected livestock herd.

Additional information about Bovine TB, including monthly updates of incidents are available on the CFIA's website.

The CFIA will be notifying all producers involved in this investigation and will include the attached information that details what to expect if a farm is under investigation and compensation details should the CFIA order animals destroyed.

The CFIA thanks you for your support and cooperation as we continue our investigation.

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