Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

WLSB update: Sweetwater County brucellosis update given during recent meetings

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Sweetwater County brucellosis update given during recent meetings

The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) staff veterinarians hosted a meeting at Western Wyoming Community College campus in Green River on Aug. 21, providing those in attendance, either in person or via the web, with education regarding brucellosis and providing updates on Sweetwater County brucellosis quarantines. 

Following the Sweetwater County brucellosis meeting, WLSB held their scheduled board meeting in Rock Springs on Aug. 22, which included a review of the previous night’s public forum on the brucellosis situation in Wyoming.

Brucellosis update

The Sweetwater County update attracted a healthy crowd, as Assistant State Veterinarian of Field Operations Dr. Teckla Webb presented education regarding brucellosis and provided handouts.

Webb described brucellosis as a highly contagious disease which can be spread during calving events and transmitted from one herd to another by an infected or exposed animal. 

She added the disease may also spread when wild animals or animals from an affected herd mingle with brucellosis-free herds.

“Brucellosis gets a lot of scrutiny, as it is a significant disease in livestock; it is a public health issue, as humans can contract brucellosis and it affects the state cattle trade status,” Webb explained.

She continued, “There are three things to prevent brucellosis – herd management, preventing commingling with elk and reducing elk on the property and vaccination.”

Webb stressed the importance of vaccinating with RB51 and following state vaccination rules.

She further noted the RB51 vaccine must be administered by an accredited veterinarian or a state or federal animal health official and can be given to non-pregnant female cattle four to 12 months of age. 

“Voluntary sampling and testing are pertinent to our data collection, and we want to thank the facilities who are testing,” Wyoming State Veterinarian Hallie Hasel stated.

Hasel reiterated the importance of producers, large or small, knowing state vaccination rules for cattle in Wyoming and understanding the proper channels of cattle transportation, which will help reduce risk and track cattle if brucellosis occurs. 

Questions arose regarding commuter elk from Utah. 

Hasel added Wyoming state agencies are working closely with state officials from Utah and surveillance testing will be conducted this fall, as there was more movement last fall and winter of migrating elk along the Utah-Wyoming border.

Hasel also addressed the official manner in which brucellosis cases are identified, tested and communicated to the public, as it is a recordable occurrence to the state but has confidentiality statute rules, a lengthy testing process and an intense quarantine management plan.

The meeting ended with a review of the importance of vaccinating, surveillance, testing and following Wyoming state laws.

Sweetwater County exposure

In June, the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory (WSVL) confirmed seven cattle originating from Sweetwater County tested positive for brucellosis. The cattle were initially identified in a routine slaughter sample submitted as part of Wyoming’s voluntary custom slaughter brucellosis surveillance program. 

Hasel confirmed, although the herd was located in Sweetwater County, there were several links to Wyoming’s Designated Surveillance Area (DSA), where a brucellosis reservoir in elk persists. 

The WLSB collaborated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in conducting an epidemiologic investigation into the source of the herd’s brucellosis exposure.

The quarantine was placed on the herd following the results from WSVL, and the herd remained under quarantine until further testing and will stay under the brucellosis-affected herd plan. 

The preliminary investigation was conducted through a cooperative effort between herd owners, WLSB and USDA APHIS, and epidemiologic tracing continued weeks after the initial findings by both WLSB and USDA APHIS personnel.

WLSB board

meeting update

During the WLSB’s regularly scheduled board meeting on the following day, WLSB President Shaun Sims called the meeting to order and introductions occurred. 

June board meeting minutes were approved, and the meeting was turned over to Director Steve True, who provided attendees with a budget and legislative update.

True reviewed the 2024 budget with the board and upcoming topics for discussion around future funding, state lab support and the board’s strategic plan. 

Hasel commented it is essential to have both the support to run state testing and the personnel to interpret the tests, which are important to local producers.

WLSB Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa gave the board his report, which included an update on new brand books being published and stressed the need to hire more brand inspectors.

During the animal health update, Hasel introduced the new Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Rose Digiannatonio and stressed the team was thankful for the new addition. 

Hasel continued her report with a brief update of the Sweetwater County meeting and reported back it was a success.

True and Sims thanked Hasel, Webb and Digiannatonio for conducting a productive meeting and updating the community on the current brucellosis situation. 

Hasel further updated the board on the current status of the brucellosis quarantine and the success of state fair drug testing, which was conducted for the first time by a third-party administrator. 

She concluded her update with a brief review of the increased number of reported neurological equine cases. 

The WSVL has received approximately 30 equine cases involving neurological symptoms, of which a large portion of the cases are testing positive for West Nile, she stated.

The meeting ended with a motion passing to retain Sims as president and Kirby Camino as vice president, and the next board meeting is set to occur in November in Casper.

WLSB is pleased to announce Animal Health has implemented a new e-mail subscription service to keep individuals updated on current topics. 

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

  • Posted in Animal Health
  • Comments Off on WLSB update: Sweetwater County brucellosis update given during recent meetings
Back to top