Published March 1, 2006 | March 2006 issue
In January, the state released results showing that five cattle herds in northwestern Minnesota were infected with the same strain of bovine tuberculosis, the first such outbreak in three and a half decades.
The outbreak is likely to be a major blow to the state's beef exporting industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to revoke Minnesota's TB-free status, which means that cattle older than 18 months have to be tested before exporting. Ironically, the strain of bovine TB detected in Minnesota herds is similar to those seen in herds in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest, but different from the strain found in Manitoba or Michigan herds.
That might be only the half of it. The state confirmed that a deer in the region also tested positive for bovine TB. In late January, the state was finalizing plans for a limited deer kill in the region in order to do further testing.
—Ronald A. Wirtz