Park County’s Herd 1 quarantined herds complete brucellosis testing
On Dec. 2 Wyoming Assistant State Veterinarian Bob Meyer announced that a second round of tests for brucellosis in Herd 1, the initial suspect cattle herd in Park County, tested negative for the disease.
On Oct. 25, blood tests reacted to brucellosis for three of 16 cull cows from Herd 1 sold for slaughter through the Worland Livestock Auction three days earlier. The Wyoming Livestock Board launched an epidemiologic investigation, the reactive cattle were quarantined, and Meyer took blood and tissue samples for further testing.
The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) refers to the initial infected herd as
Herd 1, in light of a suspected case of brucellosis in cattle in Sublette County and an unrelated confirmed case in a privately owned bison herd in Park County.
“In Herd 1, during initial testing in late October, 452 cattle were tested, with five brucellosis reactors and one ‘suspect.’ Three heifers from the reactor cows were donated to the University of Wyoming for research, and one was found to be a brucellosis reactor,” commented Meyer. Even though the second round of testing came back entirely negative for brucellosis, the herd will undergo further testing over the next several months.
Nearly 4,000 head of cattle from 10 neighboring herds (12 owners) that comingled with or were adjacent to the initial affected cattle herd also tested negative for brucellosis. Meyer says those herds have been released from quarantine.
“The preliminary epidemiology points to infected elk as probably being the source of these infections,” comments Meyer.
During a public brucellosis meeting in Meeteetse Nov. 30, Meyer said funds are available to herd veterinarians at five dollars per head for brucellosis surveillance testing, $3.50 per head for adult brucellosis vaccinations and $6.50 per head for heifer spaying. Meyer says he and Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan currently encourage producers to go with the first two options, as spaying would quickly use up available funds.
Meyer says the WLSB is working with producers and their herd veterinarians to develop preventive herd management plans.
The WLSB encourages producers not to panic, as the affected herds should be able to “test-out,” or slaughter only confirmed brucellosis infected animals, rather than slaughter their entire herds.
Deb Dufficky with USDA-APHIS offered the statement, “We at APHIS Veterinary Services are working under the guidance of the Interim Rule. The state will not lose its (brucellosis-free) status with the finding of a second herd, or even (additional herds), if they’re found in the Designated Surveillance Area, and if the state, in cooperation with APHIS Vet Services, is taking the necessary measures to investigate the sources and control spread.”
Echo Renner is a field editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com.