A Western Washington dairy gets a clean bill of health after a cow that grew up there tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB). State and federal agriculture workers say tests show all of dairy's milk producing cows tested negative.
On Tuesday they began testing non milk-producing cows there. They say the infected cow was sold to a dairy in Grant County before it was diagnosed with TB. Testing will begin later this week on more than 1,500 cows at that dairy.
Bovine TB can be transferred from cows to humans through un-pasteurized milk but agriculture officials say there is no chance un-pasteurized milk or meat from the infected cow ever made it to market.
The threat they say is to Washington state cattle and their reputation. Wisconsin Agriculture officials announced Tuesday that state will no longer accept cattle from Washington State until they are tested for TB. Testing costs are already piling up and Washington Agriculture officials say if other states or foreign countries follow suit, it could be very expensive for farmers, ranchers and tax payers.
The suspected TB case diagnosed last week is the first in Washington State in 25 years. Bovine TB has nearly been wiped out in the U.S. but can be hard to eradicate when it does show up. It can spread from cow to cow, even from dairy to dairy, but is usually contained to just a few cases.
There are also concerns it can spread to wildlife, but agriculture officials say they believe they caught this one early enough to prevent it from getting out of hand. They credit an inspector in a slaughter house for noticing lesions on the cow and ordering it be quarantined and tested for TB. When it tested positive, the meat was isolated for further testing only.